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An unexpected action, sudden confusion, or an unanticipated event.

As a ground for a new trial, surprise means the condition in which a party to a lawsuit is unexpectedly placed and that is detrimental to that party's case. The situation must be one that the party could not reasonably have anticipated and that could not be guarded against or prevented.

When a party is taken by surprise by the testimony of his or her own witness, the party may be permitted to discredit the witness by showing that the witness made prior contradictory or inconsistent statements.


noun admiratio, amazement, astonishment, astoundment, bafflement, bewilderment, consternation, lack of warning, miratio, shock, unexpected event, unexxected occurrence, unforeseen contingency, unforeseen event, unforeseen occurrence, unsuspected event, unusual occurrence, wonder, wonderment
Associated concepts: take an opposing party by surprise
See also: bombshell, fortuitous, overwhelm, unforeseeable, unforeseen

SURPRISE. This term is frequently used in courts of equity and by writers on equity jurisprudence. It signifies the act by which a party who is entering into a contract is taken unawares, by which sudden confusion or perplexity is created, which renders it proper that a court of equity should relieve the party so surprised. 2 Bro. Ch. R. 150; 1 Story, Eq. Jur. Sec. 120, note. Mr. Jeremy, Eq. Jur. 366, seems to think that the word surprise is a technical expression, and nearly synonymous. with fraud. Page 383, note. It is sometimes, used in this sense when it is deemed presumptive of, or approaching to fraud. 1 Fonb. Eq. 123 3 Chan. Cas. 56, 74, 103, 114. Vide 6 Ves. R. 327, 338; 2 Bro. Ch. R. 826; 16 Ves. R. 81, 86, 87; 1 Cox, R. 340; 2 Harr. Dig. 92.
     2. In practice, by surprise is understood that situation in which a party is placed, without any default of his own, which will be, injurious to his interest. 8 N. AS. 407. The courts always do everything in their power to relieve a party from the effects of a surprise, when he has been diligent in endeavouring to avoid it. 1 Clarke's R. 162; 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 3285.

References in periodicals archive ?
It is an exhibition that will bring back memories for many and perhaps suprise others.
6,142,983; Jody Suprise and Barbara Owen, assignors to Kimberly-Clark, Neenah, WI.
Brian Robbins from Norton Canon, near Hereford, sprang a suprise with victory in the 1100 class in his Hi Tech single seater, beating Mark Lawrence from Swinton, near Manchester.
So it's no suprise that they invited former IRA leader Martin McGuinness to lecture at the Peace Centre.
Mr Warman, who last year joked that he might be a suprise mayoral candidate, was among the audience at the Chamber of Commerce on Hagley Road as government bigwigs announced their plans for the mayoral referendum and election later this year.
Marryann Let's go Native If Native Khan turns up in the Dewhurst I think he could cause a suprise - he's a top-class colt.
The winsome warbler is gutted this week because he's been slated by some American critics, bleating that the suprise criticism has "knocked us sideways and we're having trouble knowing how to respond".
But it's hardly a suprise that Joshua was watching the Giants as he is now the fourth generation of Huddersfield RLFC supporters.
But - suprise, suprise - the deadline to do so came and went last Wednesday without a cheep from the man who had told the world how wronged he had been.
This comes as no suprise to me though as the whole country is Premiership mad.
With scenes like those on Wednesday it's no suprise the local game is dying.