surprise

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catch (someone) by surprise

To startle, amaze, or come upon (someone) unawares. That car coming around the corner caught me by surprise. She was caught completely by surprise with the amount of donations she received. Don't let hidden bank fees catch you by surprise.
See also: catch, surprise

be in for a surprise

To be guaranteed to receive or experience an unexpected outcome, especially a negative one. If you think being a parent is easy, then you're in for a surprise!
See also: surprise

surprise, surprise

Said ironically of or in a situation in which something very predictable has happened. A: "I somehow managed to break yet another phone!" B: "Surprise, surprise! How many does that make it this year?" I was telling Sarah about going to the movies with my friend Jess, and surprise, surprise, she launched into another fit of jealousy.
See also: surprise

be taken by surprise

To be happened upon when one is not ready, prepared, or on guard; to be shocked or startled by someone or something. I was taken completely by surprise when you showed up at my office this afternoon for lunch. I wish you would have called ahead! The enemy encampment was taken by surprise when our troops descended upon them just before daybreak.
See also: surprise, taken

element of surprise

A method of stealth or secrecy employed to catch someone off-guard. I'll get mom to let me stay out till midnight, but I can't ask her now, when she's expecting it—I need the element of surprise. The fish camouflages itself and disappears onto the ocean floor, relying on the element of surprise to catch its prey.
See also: element, of, surprise

quelle surprise

A French phrase that means "what a surprise." Often said sarcastically. A: "Ruth isn't coming tonight? Quelle surprise." B: "I know, she's ditched us at the last minute once again."
See also: surprise

come as no surprise

will not be surprising [for someone] to learn [something]. It will come as no surprise for you to learn that the company is losing money this year. It came as no surprise that the president had been lying.
See also: come, surprise

I'm not surprised.

 and I don't wonder.
It is not surprising.; It should not surprise anyone. Mary: All this talk about war has my cousin very worried. Sue: No doubt. At his age, I don't wonder. John: All of the better-looking ones sold out right away. Jane: I'm not surprised.
See also: not, surprise

surprise someone by something

to astonish someone by doing or being something. You surprised me by your forthrightness. No one was surprised by the way it happened.
See also: surprise

surprise someone with something

to astonish someone by presenting or showing something. I surprised her with a bouquet of roses. He surprised Roger with a new car.
See also: surprise

take someone by surprise

 and catch someone by surprise
to startle someone; to surprise someone with something unexpected. Oh! You took me by surprise because I didn't hear you come in. Bill caught his mother by surprise by coming to the door and pretending to be selling something.
See also: surprise, take

take someone or something by surprise

to startle or surprise someone or something. She bolted into the room and took them by surprise. I took the little bird by surprise, and it flew away.
See also: surprise, take

take (somebody) by surprise

to do something not expected His resignation took us all completely by surprise.
See also: surprise, take

take by surprise

Encounter unexpectedly, as in The rainshower took us by surprise. [Late 1600s]
See also: surprise, take
References in classic literature ?
After passing the pantry he opened suddenly a door on the left of the passage, to Powell's great surprise.
Another disappointment and happy surprise came in their quarrels.
He sprung his secret about Huck's share in the adventure in the finest dramatic manner he was master of, but the surprise it occasioned was largely counterfeit and not as clamorous and effusive as it might have been under happier circumstances.
Marianne saw and listened with increasing surprise.
No surprise of strangeness could equal the surprise of that complete familiarity.
As the company recovered from their surprise, they began to feel annoyed at this intrusion.
His still refusing to tell her what he had gone for was but the promotion of gaiety; a day before it might have irritated, but now it was a pleasant joke-- suspected only of concealing something planned as a pleasant surprise to herself.
No sooner was my first surprise abated than I found myself rejoicing in the shock which we were about to administer to the General.
The like surprise may be made by moving things, when the party is in haste, and cannot stay to consider advisedly of that is moved.
The young man, who was dining alone with his mother and sister, glanced up in surprise and saw Mrs.
As far as Gania was concerned, it might have been supposed that the news had come through Varvara Ardalionovna, who had suddenly become a frequent visitor of the Epanchin girls, greatly to their mother's surprise.
The princess, who had never liked Pierre and had been particularly hostile to him since she had felt herself under obligations to him after the old count's death, now after staying a short time in Orel- where she had come intending to show Pierre that in spite of his ingratitude she considered it her duty to nurse him- felt to her surprise and vexation that she had become fond of him.
The pirate attack had been a complete surprise: a sure proof that the unscrupulous Hook had conducted it improperly, for to surprise redskins fairly is beyond the wit of the white man.
At sight of him Jane Porter uttered a little cry of surprise and joy, and ran quickly ahead to meet him.
What she did say was a surprise to herself then and ever afterwards.