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a shock to (one's)/the system
Something that serves to surprise or startle someone. Seeing the car swerve right in front of me was quite a shock to the system. I'm definitely awake now! Living in a different country for so many years made coming back here quite a shock to my system. A: "I can hardly believe it—I mean, I just saw her yesterday!" B: "I know, it's such a shock to the system when someone dies so suddenly."
be in for a shock
To be guaranteed to receive or experience an unexpectedly jarring outcome, especially a negative one. If you think being a parent is easy, then you're in for a shock! Mary's been so sheltered all her life that she'll be in for a shock when she has to start paying her own bills.
A sudden feeling of confusion or surprise when confronted by an unfamiliar situation or cultural environment. It is often a huge culture shock for American women traveling to the Middle East when they are expected to wear head scarves and be accompanied by a man at all times.
A sense of shock or anxiety experienced while trying to cope with rapid changes in society or technology. The phrase is attributed to American writer Alvin Toffler. I can't even imagine the future shock our grandparents' generation must feel with the breakneck pace of new technologies now.
get the shock of (one's) life
To have an extreme and sudden sensation of shock, surprise, or fear. Mary got the shock of her life when that car swerved right in front of her. I got the shock of my life when I noticed someone standing right behind me in the cellar. Little did he know that he would get the shock of his life when he crossed the threshold of the old mansion.
give (one) the shock of (one's) life
To cause in one an extreme and sudden sensation of shock, surprise, or fear. Seeing the car swerve right in front of her gave Mary the shock of her life. The magician gave the audience the shock of their lives with his death-defying performance.
have the shock of (one's) life
To have an extreme and sudden sensation of shock, surprise, or fear. Mary had the shock of her life when that car swerved right in front of her. I had the shock of my life when I noticed someone standing right behind me in the cellar. Little did he know that he was about to have the shock of his life when he crossed the threshold of the old mansion.
more than a little
Very; significantly. Usually said of a particular emotion. I'm more than a little disappointed that you won't be coming to the wedding, I must say. Tom is more than a little excited about starting his new job.
1. dated Intense psychological damage or strain occurring as the result of prolonged combat engagement in warfare, resulting in myriad negative side effects such as nightmares, anxiety, emotional detachment, anger, and so on. The term was popularized during the First World War in reference to soldiers returning from combat; it is known in modern times as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and has expanded to cover the psychological damage caused by any kind of traumatic event. My brother came home with such terrible shell shock that I could no longer even converse with him as I had in the past. When you come back home with PTSD that doesn't line up with what they think shell shock ought to look like, it makes it hard for them to sympathize with you.
2. By extension, a state of utter disbelief, confusion, grief, or shock caused by a powerful and upsetting event. The family has been dealing with shell shock after finding out their father had gambled away their life savings. The fans seemed to be stricken with shell shock after their team—heavily favored to win the championship—were robbed of victory in the final seconds of the game.
1. In a state of intense psychological strain, distress, or trauma as a result of prolonged engagement in combat warfare. The term was popularized during the First World War in reference to soldiers returning from combat; it is more commonly known in modern times as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and has expanded to cover the psychological damage caused by any kind of traumatic event. My brother was lucky enough to come home from the war alive, but he was shell-shocked for the rest of his life. You come back from war a little bit more cynical, a little less inclined to smile, and everyone immediately thinks you're shell-shocked.
2. In a state of utter disbelief, confusion, grief, or shock caused by a powerful and upsetting event. The family has been dealing with shell shock after finding out their father had gambled away their life savings. The fans seemed to be stricken with shell shock after their team—heavily favored to win the championship—were robbed of victory in the final seconds of the game.
shock and awe
The use of shocking, impressive, or intimidating tactics in order to achieve a certain reaction from others. Sometimes hyphenated. It is by no means unusual for political candidates to use shock and awe in their ads to smear or discredit their opponents. The government's shock-and-awe campaign about the dangers of drunk driving was controversial, but it has reduced the number of roadside deaths by nearly 15%.
Ironically used to indicate that something is not surprising or horrific in the slighted. The CEO's comments about women being better suited to raising children has led to—shock horror—a huge and scathing backlash against him across the internet. Shock horror, my kids weren't too keen to try my new kale and broccoli casserole.
An intentionally provocative or outrageous host of a talk show on a radio station. Shortened from "shock jockey," which is itself modeled on "disc jockey" (someone who selects and plays music on a radio station). Howard Stern has got to be the most famous shock jock, right? He constantly seems to be offending some group or another. This guy's my favorite shock jock. He can make your blood boil at times, but he's always entertaining!
The shock absorbers in a piece of machinery, especially a motor vehicle. The shocks are totally worn out on this old dirt bike. Whoever owned it last, they certainly weren't afraid of rough terrain. There must be a problem with the shocks, because I can feel every single bump in the road!
See also: shock
short, sharp shock
informal Primarily heard in UK, Australia.
1. A sudden and severe measure or punishment utilized to produce a quick and effective result. It is clear now that the policy of punishing young offenders with a short, sharp shock is much less effective than education and emotional training. The austerity measures were meant to be a short, sharp shock that would save the economy from a calamitous crash.
2. An experience that is brief but intense. Our latest recipe gives a short, sharp shock of flavor that dissipates into a more mellow, long-lasting taste.
state of shock
1. An acute medical condition characterized by a loss of blood pressure, as in reaction to physical trauma, infection, or allergy. The injury to her leg has caused her body to enter a state of shock. She needs treatment before she suffers organ damage.
2. A persistent condition of extreme horror, surprise, disgust, etc. News of my father's death left me in a state of shock. The poor child has been in a state of shock after seeing such atrocities.
Shock or disappointment upon discovering that something costs much more than one expected or imagined. The "sticker" refers to the price tag. It was my first time ever having to replace a boiler, so I had quite the sticker shock when I learned how much a brand-new one would cost. My dad said he would buy me a car for my birthday, but I think he got a bit of sticker shock when we went down to the dealership.
the shock of (one's) life
An extreme and sudden sensation of shock, surprise, or fear. Often used after the verbs "get" or "give." Seeing the car swerve right in front of her gave Mary the shock of her life. I got the shock of my life when I noticed someone standing right behind me. Little did he know that he was in for the shock of his life when he crossed the threshold of the old mansion.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
*the shock of one's life
Fig. a serious (emotional) shock. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give one ~.) I opened the telegram and got the shock of my life. I had the shock of my life when I won $5,000.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
A state of confusion and anxiety experienced by someone upon encountering an alien environment. For example, It's not just jet lag-it's the culture shock of being in a new country. This term was first used by social scientists to describe, for example, the experience of a person moving from the country to a big city. It is now used more loosely, as in the example. [Late 1930s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
a short, sharp shockBRITISH
A short, sharp shock is a punishment that is severe but only lasts for a short time. Many parents believe that a short sharp shock is at times necessary for naughty children.
People say shock horror to show that they are aware that people might be shocked or surprised by something they say. I felt intellectually superior despite — shock horror — my lack of qualifications. I even, shock horror, like the smell of fresh sweat on a woman. Note: This expression is used humorously.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
future shocka state of distress or disorientation due to rapid social or technological change.
This phrase was coined by the American writer Alvin Toffler ( 1928–2016 ) in Horizon ( 1965 ), where he defines it as ‘the dizzying disorientation brought on by the premature arrival of the future’.
shock and awea name given to a US military strategy, developed in the 1990s, that relies on rapidly deployed overwhelming force to cow an enemy.
shock horrorused as an ironically exaggerated reaction to something shocking.
The expression encapsulates the hyperbole of newspaper headlines, especially those in tabloid papers.
2003 Film Inside Out She encourages one of the girls to consider a career in law—shock horror! – rather than deny her intellect and settle for homemaking.
short, sharp shock1 a brief but harsh custodial sentence imposed on offenders in an attempt to discourage them from committing further offences. 2 a severe measure taken in order to effect quick results.
The Home Secretary William Whitelaw advocated the short sharp shock as a form of corrective treatment for young offenders at the 1979 Conservative Party Conference; the deterrent value of such a regime was to be its severity rather than the length of time served.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
more than a little exˈcited, ˈshocked, etc.quite or very excited, shocked, etc: Peter was more than a little disappointed not to be chosen for the team. ♢ I was more than a little surprised to see it still there two days later.
ˌshock ˈhorror(British English, informal, often humorous) used when you pretend to be shocked by something that is not really very serious or surprising: Shock horror! You’re actually on time for once!
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
n. shock absorbers in an automobile. How much is a set of shocks for a buggy like this?
See also: shock
n. the shock at seeing just how much something new, usually an automobile, costs as determined by looking at the price tag or sticker. I went to a car dealer today, and I am still suffering from sticker shock.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Surprise at the high cost of an item. The term originated in the 1970s when government regulations substantially increased the cost of automobiles. It was soon transferred to any item or service regarded as unusually expensive. For example, “I had a case of sticker shock when I learned the annual cost of club membership exceeded $1,000.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
Psychological adverse reaction to combat. The phrase originated during World War I when intensive enemy artillery bombarding caused soldiers in the trenches to suffer from a variety of traumas that ranged from moderate panic attacks to physical and emotional paralysis. Changes in warfare and psychological lingo caused the phrase to be replaced during the Second World War by “battle fatigue” and more recently to “posttraumatic stress disorder.”
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price