One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An involuntary reaction to a sudden stimulus, especially a loud noise, often involving contraction of groups of muscles of the limbs and neck; a similar reaction shown by an animal.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in Military Surgeon. From startle + reflex.
startle reflex/ˈstɑːtl ˌriːflɛks/
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