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startle (one) out of (something)

To cause one to come abruptly out of some state or condition due to a mild shock or fright. The sound of the backdoor slamming shut startled me out of sleep. I hope the large decline in sales has startled the directors out of their complacency. I snuck up behind Tommy so I could startle him out of his daydream.
See also: of, out, startle
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

startle someone out of something

to frighten someone very badly. (The something that may be lost may be expressed as wits, senses, ten years' growth, etc.) The explosion startled Polly out of her senses. I frightened myself out often years' growth.
See also: of, out, startle
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
In parallel with the startle response test, the hair cell damage by neomycin treatment was confirmed by observing and counting the hair cell with staining.
In this pilot subject, occasional startle signs were present only at 240[degrees]/s, but not with lower angular peak velocities.
The observed downward recruitment of muscles responses further support the idea that startle reflex forms part of the neuromuscular responses to a rear-end collision.
Mallan et al., 2008), we used a set of cues-pictures pairings as learning (non-probed) trials during the first half of the task, followed by a second set of pairings where auditory probes were delivered to examine the effects of emotional valence and arousal over anticipatory startle reflex modulation--likewise prior investigation focused on anticipation of affective material.
Initially, twelve stimulus presentations were required to produce habituation of the startle reflex; to produce habituation of the startle reflex that had undergone apparent spontaneous recovery, only six stimulus presentations were required.
Extraordinarily quick visual startle reflexes of skipper butterflies (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) are among the fastest in the animal kingdom.
Humans and animals use the same four-neuron connection in startle; in humans, however, the amygdala can alter the response or the cortical system can inhibit it through many different mechanisms, said Dr.
They placed earphones on each child and measured the startle magnitude to a binaural acoustic startle.
For any test session each animal was placed in the cylinder, and movements of the cylinder resulting from startle responses were transduced by an accelerometer into a voltage which was amplified, digitized and served into a computer for analysis.
On further evaluation, a diagnosis of hyperekplexia was made and therapy was changed to oral clonazepam with a reduction in his symptoms, although he still showed an exaggerated startle reflex in response to minor stimuli.
A review printed in April said: 'Quite how hard core it is will startle the most blase 21st-Century viewers.
At each concentration level, breathing patterns and startle reflexes were measured.
However, Janik speculates that a nonfatal bray might startle prey into freezing for a vital instant.
* Increased sleep disturbances, irritability, poor concentration, startle reaction and regressive behavior.
Once again, the Pope can startle by the lengths he is willing to go in his desire to encourage a fruitful discussion with other Christians.