Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to surprise: Surprise party


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 ?
Amidst this dynamism of natural oscillations, intrinsic variability and surprise at many different timescales, the climate system regulates its own temperature and chemistry.
The presentation came as a total surprise to Whitehead.
Organizations will achieve the greatest success if they adopt blanket measures to prepare for a spectrum of disasters, rather than addressing potential surprises one at a time," write Bazerman, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Watkins, the founder of strategy consultant Genesis Advisers.
Wilde is a more complex character than either Terry or Dean, and the surprise in Pete Tong--while also medical--is more of a career ruiner than it is life threatening.
Of course, their expectation of a surprise is that something very good is about to happen.
Another forum for surprise is in the course design itself.
Norris's poem, "Luke 14: A Commentary," is a good place to begin, since it boldly portrays Jesus as the jokester, popping up to surprise us.
Another surprise is that a polemical movement may not be the preserve of just one tradition.
But most insurance company executives are willing to accept the slight increase in the goodwill amortization to avoid the chance of a much bigger negative surprise to earnings.
VOTED Ireland's `Bitch Of The Year' just 48 hours earlier, April Surprise staked an early claim for the 1999 award when she produced a thrilling performance to win the pounds 10,000 Shelbourne Tote Gold Cup at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night.
Surprise dramas are a great addition to any campfire or skit time.
Therefore, training should provide officers with various methods to address combative subjects and surprise assaults.