be taken aback

taken aback

Startled, astonished, shocked, or disconcerted. All of us were a bit taken aback to learn that John was moving to England next month. I must admit that I was taken aback when I heard we weren't receiving our bonuses this year.
See also: aback, taken

be taken aˈback (by somebody/something)

be shocked or surprised by somebody/something: She was completely taken aback by his anger.
See also: aback, taken
References in periodicals archive ?
AM I the only Journal reader to be taken aback by the comments of Chief Superintendent Jon Stratford from Avon and Somerset Police (The Journal, January 3)?
I AM sure that I am not the only person to be taken aback by Esther McVey's letter (Daily Post, May 27) concerning MPs' expenses.
Despite its undeniable success, however, I couldn't help but be taken aback as I sat through Les Invasions barbares.