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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 order to document a StartReact effect, that is, acceleration of a prepared movement (here: WE) by a startling stimulus and to show the influence of preparedness (here: left KF, "expected side" versus right KF "unexpected side") we compared latencies and iEMG in ECR responses applying Friedman [chi square] test in conditions 240React, 240StartReact, 240ContraReact, and 240ContraStartReact.
Hayley makes a startling revelation and breaks down in front of Becky as she confides her hopes and fears, while Ashley takes the day off work to spend time with Claire.
Hayley makes a startling revelation and confides her fears to Becky, while Norris invites an intrigued Emily to dinner.
Equally startling is that 45 percent of the top executives who were surveyed also have a computer terminal in their office.
While their witness cannot answer all the questions that surface today about women's roles in ministry, they do give us a glimpse into the way women have been serving God's people since the beginning of the church--in sometimes startling ways.
Now, the AFM has undergone some startling shrinkage of its own.
Movie magazine Sight and Sound describes the graphic sex scenes as startling.
Yehuda played a succession of loud, startling firing sounds in demonstrating her point that, to the normal ear, the first firing caused a startle response, but that after repetitive firings, the response diminishes.
Set to Scriabin's Pomme tragique (apparently Nureyev's own choice), this mixture of sobs and spins, a technical display with an unrelated obbligato of anguished hair-tearing, had a startling undertone of symbolism.
"Now scientists have raised another startling prospect--'unborn mothers.'"
This startling map, which provides the most detailed " snapshot" of the early universe to date, captures the afterglow of the Big Bang--380,000 years after it occurred.
The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV) created Anni's site in response to some startling statistics about girls.
Good Men, which, despite some controversial sections, has been a startling expose of widespread homosexuality and pro-homosexuality in American Catholic seminaries, we now have a startling expose of widespread homosexuality and pro-homosexuality in the larger Catholic Church in America.
CARROT-TOPPED investigative reporter Paul Kenyon revisited some of the villains he exposed in his last series with some startling results in Kenyon Confronts.