1 obsolete: to strike with sudden fear
2: to strike with sudden and usually great wonder or surprise



Astonish (v.): c. 1300, astonien, from Old French estonerto stun, daze, deafen, astound,” from Vulgar Latin extonare, from Latin ex- “out” + tonareto thunder” (thunder): so, literally “to leave someone thunderstruck.” The modern form is attested from c. 1530.



“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

Mark Twain (1835-1910, adventurer and satirical intellectual, who wrote the classic American novels, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”)

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“It would astonish if not amuse the older citizens to learn that I (a strange, friendless, uneducated, penniless boy, working at ten dollars per month) have been put down as the candidate of pride, wealth, and aristocratic family distinction.”

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, 16th U.S. President, who issue the Emancipation Proclamation that declared slaves free within the Confederacy in 1863)

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“Deep within man dwell those slumbering powers: powers that would astonish him, that he never dreamed of possessing; forces that would revolutionize his life if aroused and put into action.”

Orison Swett Marden (1850-1924, inspirational author who founded the SUCCESS magazine in 1897, and who discussed common-sense principles, many based on the New Thought philosophy, that make a well-rounded successful life)

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“It never fails to astonish me how cheaply a politician can be bought.”

Timothy Noah (b. 1958, journalist, author, and Labor & Employment editor at POLITICO)

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“It is an easy and vulgar thing to please the mob, and no very arduous task to astonish them.”

Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832, English cleric, writer, and collector, well known for his eccentricities)

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“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

Mark Twain


We should try to do what’s right, especially to tell our truth, not to astonish anyone, but to help wherever and however possible; and not only with those we agree.

The more compassion we develop for our selves, the more compassion we will express to others, regardless of another’s perspective or views.

Our need to compete with and dominate one another has always been an immature and destructive human pattern. We can exchange, argue, or debate. But, when it comes down to taking sides and eliminating or destroying the other, we are only demonstrating that we have lost our way.

I was at a community meeting the other day for a possible huge student development housing project that may be approved and constructed in the neighborhood in which I live.

My community was somewhat taken aback by a very short notice of the meeting, and later found that the development company had no intention of contacting most of the homeowners, only those closest to the development. Most of the people who attended asked a lot of good questions. But, there was one point when emotions got charged, arguments broke out, and lots of hurtful insults were hurled around. The meeting quickly turned to mayhem.

I have participated in many community meetings, especially volunteering as a liaison for my cooperative building in NYC and as a board member for my homeowner’s association here in Florida. But, I have never seen people so charged and riled up. There’s this pervasive we-versus-them mentally that most of us should have outgrown.

We must to learn to listen to each other instead of stepping over each other. Personally, I rather be astonished by our abilities to create beauty and art and courageously speak truth to power rather than be continuously stunned by our addictions to dehumanize each other.

Soldier on, sojourners! Never give up.

Faithfully Yours, Tonya












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