astonish (v.) Look up astonish at Dictionary.comc.1300, astonien, from Old French estoner “to stun, daze, deafen, astound,” from Vulgar Latin *extonare, from Latin ex- “out” + tonare “to thunder” (see thunder); so, lit. “to leave someone thunderstruck.” The modern form (influenced by English verbs in -ish, e.g. distinguish, diminish) is attested from c.1530. (from the online etymological dictionary) – 

People seldom use this word in ordinary conversation – but they should – when this is used as an adjective, it’s like hearing a lovely, unexpected note struck by a struggling singer.   It elevates accomplishments and enhances experience – at least once a day, I try to describe something as astonishing.  It is the essence of astonishment, after all, to be present in everyday things, just waiting to be seen there –

With an apple I will astonish Paris.
                 –Paul Cezanne 


About hickson1

Art historian, professor, Italian Renaissance and Baroque specialist, Italophile
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