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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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Seven people, most of them children, were injured when a startled camel started bucking during a Pittsburgh circus.
When a person is startled due to an emotional response, the eyes blink.
Sheep in Malpas near Chester have been given ear muffs to stop them being startled by noise from a nearby motor festival
The teenagers tried to explain that the dog had startled them, but Webb began to make threats.
BLACK clouds drifted across the moon, darkening the graveyard.A lone owl suddenly took flight, startled by the grating sound of tombstones shifting.
It was not initially clear whether the elephant had been startled or whether it had been a 'rogue' animal.
Mauro Bigonzetti startled with contrasts of light and dark, and Christopher Wheeldon cherrypicked ballet's vocabulary and blended it memorably with the contemporary.
Every time the camera caught him, he had the look of a startled rabbit.
I was startled at his question, having seen in my generation a steady growth of women ministers in all areas of the church.
The reader may be startled by the aggressive, if not violent, force of his words, but will not put the book down without being challenged to be a more active American.
Yet when Norbert cries out an appeal just before being devoured, the Zlog is startled; he knew that Nipkins tasted good, but he never knew they could talk.
Each photo was displayed for 6 seconds, and during the display participants were startled by a loud sound--a 50-millisecond, 105-dB white noise probe--3-5 seconds after the beginning of the display.
She may have spent a fortune but, with that spiky hair and those staring eyes, she still resembles a startled hamster.
Suddenly the brunette yells, "EARTHQUAKE!!!" Everyone is startled and throws themselves on the ground while she escapes.
"[Antonin] Scalia startled liberal newsmen and professors by pointing out that the fairness/free press controversy arises out of the wording of the Federal Communications Act itself.