Definition of wonder in English:



  • 1A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.

    ‘he had stood in front of it, observing the intricacy of the ironwork with the wonder of a child’
    • ‘His eyes were pleading with her, sympathy and pity and wonder all at the same time.’
    • ‘There is so much suffering in the world that we can only sit back in amazement and wonder how this could occur in a just world.’
    • ‘She looked beautiful with an expression that spoke of happiness, anxiety and wonder all at once.’
    • ‘She remembered his other expressions, wonder, joy, amazement; all positive feelings.’
    • ‘We are now told, with equal wonder and admiration, that natural selection is the agent of exquisite design.’
    • ‘It's a constant source of wonder and amazement to me that people do.’
    • ‘We are staring at them in wonder, not admiration, but they don't seem to know the difference.’
    • ‘One point of connection between science and the love that faith reveals is wonder.’
    • ‘I've observed their joy and wonder, and I've seen their fear and sadness in the face of events they cannot control.’
    • ‘For most of us this remarkable series of volumes will be a constant source of wonder, amazement, and re-thinking.’
    • ‘I entered in on that commitment full of joy and wonder and love and hope.’
    • ‘The looks that I was receiving from my teammates were not ones of admiration or wonder, but of worry.’
    • ‘It evoked feelings of nostalgia, embarrassment and wonder at how I was thinking then.’
    • ‘One day, when the sun shone hot and strong, I stood before this giant in silent wonder and admiration.’
    • ‘But every once in a while, the images become a source of awe and wonder, thought and anticipation.’
    • ‘Do you have excellent drumming and acting skills and the ability to communicate joy, wonder and depth?’
    • ‘She listened in amazement and wonder, and when he ended, she immediately got up.’
    • ‘But that fear was drowned out by the overwhelming emotions that filled her: awe and wonder, expectation and joy.’
    • ‘They present a perfect blend of pathos, wonder, derision, fear, disgust and fury.’
    • ‘Walking out of Hannibal, I was struck with a sense of wonder and amazement.’
    awe, admiration, wonderment, fascination
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    1. 1.1 The quality of a person or thing that causes wonder.
      ‘Athens was a place of wonder and beauty’
      • ‘So, whilst my friends get dragged off to work every Saturday morning, I'm free to lie in and then explore the wonders of Kiwibox.’
      • ‘She agrees to do so only if Ben will join her in exploring the wonders under the sea.’
      • ‘It had been almost 10 years since I last put on a pair of goggles and a snorkel to see the wonders of Queensland's coral reef.’
      • ‘These people who, while believing in a god and goddess, follow the ancient pagan religions that revere the wonders and beauty of nature and its changing seasons.’
      • ‘The runway at Taos is ground-zero for exploring the ancient wonders of northern New Mexico’
      • ‘The Grand Canyon is also a place to find and explore the wonders of God's creation.’
      • ‘They explore the wonders of nature from songbirds to horned deer.’
      • ‘Another perfect way to explore the subtle wonders of the wild is on interpretative bush walks, a favourite with bird watchers and plant enthusiasts.’
      • ‘The island is fast-becoming a destination for hikers and many of the wonders can be explored at leisure during a walk in countryside.’
      • ‘Yet, within the civic grandeur of an important ‘community’ space, patrons are able to explore the wonders of a library.’
      • ‘A place of timeless beauty, it beckons to anyone eager to explore remote natural wonders.’
      • ‘I genuinely think the world is an amazing place, and I imagine I could spend upwards of five lifetimes exploring its wonders.’
      • ‘The work of the poet, who perceives and attempts to define the wonders, complexities and beauty of nature, is hidden and obscured for many.’
      • ‘And new galleries exploring the wonders of astronomy and the study of time and an improved astronomy education centre will be opened in the South Building along with a shop and cafe.’
      • ‘‘It's not at all incongruous to be exploring the wonders of the cosmos as part of an official Vatican scientific thing,’ he said.’
      • ‘An interactive exhibition which will captive inquiring minds with hands of fun and equipment to test and explore the wonders of science.’
      • ‘Explore the wonders of coral reefs, mangrove communities, and seagrass beds while identifying the marine organisms that live there.’
      • ‘Spot familiar faces, places and scenarios in their lyrics as they explore the wonders of the pubs and the pints of the glorious North.’
      • ‘We were exploring the glories and wonders of this fantastic country, which is booming under this Government.’
      • ‘Divers can explore the underwater wonders of Eastern Indonesia on seven to eight days cruises to the islands of Komodo, Alor, Flores, Sumbawa and Lombok.’
      marvel, miracle, phenomenon, wonderful thing, sensation, sight, spectacle, beauty
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    2. 1.2 A strange or remarkable person, thing, or event.
      ‘the electric trolley car was looked upon as the wonder of the age’
      • ‘The best solution was to put him back stage - oh the wonders of the electronic age!’
      • ‘She is truly one of the musical wonders of the age.’
      • ‘They are pathetic, gutless wonders who have the ability to analyse but are always cowardly when it comes to downgrading a company that deserves it.’
      • ‘It is an age of miracles and wonders, of sightings of Mary and warnings, of prophecy, graces and gifts.’
      • ‘As well as ancient sights that rank among the wonders of the world, China now has space-age hotels and superb shopping.’
      • ‘Our plane flew up one valley, and in a few short minutes we came within sight of one of South America's natural wonders - Kaiteur Falls.’
      • ‘Anyway, what I am trying to say is they are a bunch of toothless wonders, incapable of creation and development, but proven at destruction - sectarian indeed.’
      • ‘Cultural differences enhance the wonder of camp for children, youth, and adults.’
      • ‘Now I feed my dog on chicken thighs at 40p a pound; a bargain made possible by the wonder of industrialised farming.’
      • ‘Ready or not, the Millennium Year is on us, barraging us with a dizzying array of high-flying hype about the wonders of the New Age.’
      • ‘Legends abound around the creation of these spectacular churches that are considered to be the eighth wonder of the world.’
      • ‘Cooper should know better, but the gutless wonder is having his puppet strings pulled by the cabinet.’
      • ‘Here's where old ideas, like the wonder of a common currency, have struggled to cope with a multiplicity of new and very different economies.’
      • ‘It has been less than a week since the gutless wonder conceded the election way too soon.’
      • ‘It's no wonder that across the country they increasingly regard their elected representatives as gutless wonders.’
      • ‘This is a magical world brimming with wonders, diverse and remarkable.’
      • ‘That's why they will someday be seen as heroes, long after the gutless wonders with breathy voices are forgotten.’
      • ‘In an age of five-minute wonders some trainers of the traditional martial arts are sceptical whether Krav Maga has the stamina to go the distance.’
      • ‘But discovering the wonder of a sprouting seed, or watching how a worm moves underground can still compete with Gameboys and win.’
      • ‘These gutless wonders did not come close to meeting those basic requirements.’
    3. 1.3[as modifier] Having remarkable properties or abilities.
      ‘a wonder drug’
      • ‘It is the latest health benefit to be associated with the wonder drug.’
      • ‘It's being billed as the new wonder cure for asthma sufferers - and it's drug free.’
      • ‘And it took a Ciaran Sloan wonder save, almost in the same class as that of Travers, to stop Shane King from netting.’
      • ‘If they fail, the properties of this wonder oil may be known all over the world, but there will be no trees left to supply the market.’
      • ‘I think whoever follows him can build on that wonder rapport that Pope John Paul II had with youth.’
      • ‘Now everyone is a resource expert, coal is gold again, oil is king and gas the wonder fuel.’
      • ‘They can't do that against England, Owen and Heskey will be up there waiting for a Beckham wonder pass to set them off.’
      • ‘It used to be the wonder fibre found in a multitude of products, but now it's a dirty word.’
      • ‘Along with Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan and James Bond, the wonder dog is one of the most enduring characters in British literature.’
      • ‘Jute is now the wonder fabric that can spin gold for innovative weavers who have invested in the appropriate spinning machinery.’
      • ‘But each time, the Hyderabad wonder boy would mess it all up in the last couple of rounds.’
      • ‘Soya has now become the wonder bean where health foods are concerned.’
      • ‘There is no place to hide, nowhere to run, and many wish that they hadn't pushed the wonder boy in a tight corner.’
      • ‘And don't write off City's chances at Preston or Ipswich, scene of a Paul Evans wonder strike last season.’
      • ‘Now the race is on to create and test synthetic forms - and it is not the only wonder drug on the horizon.’
      • ‘We can control our death rate, what with medicines, wonder drugs and vaccinations.’
      • ‘Forrest followed up his Walsall wonder goal with an all-action display on Tuesday and should keep his place.’
      • ‘An interesting anecdote has also been spun into the wonder liquid.’
      • ‘These tights could - if the hype is to be believed - be the wonder product we've all been waiting for.’
      • ‘Ayurvedic medicine has been using honey as a vital medicine for years, but now scientists say that with cinnamon it is a wonder medicine.’
      • ‘It has been widely hailed as a wonder drug by many patients and specialists in skin care, often making a dramatic difference to acne sufferers.’
      • ‘Just think of the enhanced abilities we could get from eating those wonder foodstuffs.’
      • ‘One-lap wonder girl Freeman arrived at Manchester Airport to be met by a battery of TV crew, radio broadcasters and media.’
    4. 1.4[in singular] A surprising event or situation.
      ‘it is a wonder that losses are not much greater’
      • ‘Its a wonder this bizarre mix of outdated psychedelia and underbaked Country Rock went over as well as it did.’
      • ‘With his words fresh in my mind from the night before, it was hardly surprising; it was more a wonder that it had taken him so long.’
      • ‘It's a wonder I wasn't strangled before opening night, but at that age, precocious is cute.’
      • ‘In fact some of them are so wise after the event, it's a wonder they are not millionaires every one from their betting skills.’
      • ‘It was a wonder Sorsha did not strangle them in her frenzy of relief and gratitude.’


  • 1Desire or be curious to know something.

    ‘how many times have I written that, I wonder?’
    [with clause] ‘I can't help wondering how Stasia and Katie are feeling’
    • ‘With those statistics, it's only natural to wonder at what point Orpheus is no longer really Orpheus.’
    • ‘Children wonder at the crossings as the light-blinking boom-gates close for the pistons.’
    • ‘As I look back on the last five years, I wonder at what would have happened had we chosen different paths.’
    • ‘Furthermore, one might wonder at the odd ratios of athletic facilities at our school.’
    • ‘I remember each time there was an election in Iran I would see and wonder at all the big posters of the candidates in the street in Tehran.’
    • ‘He would wonder at the human body's capacity to do all that and more!’
    • ‘Although in this day of split families and single parent up bringing, I wonder at times if it is now considered less so.’
    • ‘But when you drive it, you wonder at first what all the fuss is about.’
    • ‘For starters, there is all this football on TV but much of it is not free and I wonder at times where people get all the money from to afford it.’
    • ‘He shrugs in the way a pop star might wonder at the fuss being made over playing to full houses every night.’
    • ‘Older Catholics who had these prayers drilled into their heads as children may wonder at the point of such a book.’
    • ‘They are always going to be with us so we ought not to wonder at some of the anomalous antics of the few.’
    • ‘In fact, we wonder at this point about the use of a business model of production and consumption.’
    • ‘Anyone who spotted the black van would wonder at why it seemed to be vibrating as it chugged down the road.’
    • ‘I bit my bottom lip and start to wonder at what exact point I started to fall for him?’
    • ‘We shouldn't wonder at the sight of women holding the shotgun and firing.’
    • ‘Those of us who live in the provinces wonder at the obsessive efforts of some Tory politicians to ingratiate themselves with that lobby.’
    • ‘Yes, I wonder at how the work gets accomplished because of all the hoops and loops that one needs to pass through.’
    • ‘But I wonder at what point does this pass the line from art to trick?’
    • ‘I wonder at what point does knowledge in my brain become encoded within my muscles.’
    ponder, ask oneself, think about, meditate on, reflect on, deliberate about, muse on, speculate about, conjecture
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    1. 1.1[with clause] Used to express a polite question or request.
      ‘I wonder whether you have thought more about it?’
      • ‘Given the party allocation for questions, I wonder whether you would reconsider today's one?’
      • ‘I have some questions for Don Brash, and I wonder whether he will answer those questions as I go through them.’
      • ‘I was wondering whether non-golden bangles and necklaces are forbidden for males.’
      • ‘I wonder if anyone has requested a refund because the product did not achieve the task they were lead to believe it would?’
      • ‘I wonder whether that is one of the questions that the member has been asked to ask by the anti-immunisation lobby.’
      • ‘I wonder, Libby, whether there is something deeply therapeutic about beautiful things?’
      • ‘I wonder whether the Associate Minister could address that question.’
      • ‘I was wondering whether it is considered polite or rude to speak in a different language with someone in front of others.’
      • ‘I just wondered whether the same kind of question might not arise in a different context if there were a question as to the value of the estate for duty purposes.’
      • ‘I've been considering my last question, and I wondered whether the church in the photograph is in Venice?’
      • ‘But from your question I wonder whether you are not inviting people to make this false choice, between New York or Paris?’
    2. 1.2 Feel doubt.
      ‘I wonder about such a marriage’
      • ‘They go on to wonder about the logic of Minister McDowell s actions given his stated aim of curbing excessive drinking.’
      • ‘But the more messages I received, the more I began to wonder about the whole thing.’
      • ‘However, when you start to nitpick at really silly things, then I cannot help but to wonder about motive.’
      • ‘Bizarre references like this one have, however, caused me to wonder about his mental health.’
      • ‘Sense has prevailed, but it does make you wonder about the comments on regulation in New Zealand by McFarlane.’
      • ‘There are certainly grounds to wonder about this conceit.’
      • ‘It is true we are in an uncertain period but I wonder about the collective ‘mental state’ at the moment.’
      • ‘When the first promises don't come through, it makes you wonder about subsequent promises.’
      • ‘And I wonder about the people close to Michael who talk about how wonderful he is and whatnot.’
      • ‘But now, with this text message, I can't not wonder about it all again.’
      • ‘But if Mr. Munn can't get basic stuff like this straight, I have to wonder about his reliability on other matters.’
      • ‘Kinda makes you wonder about all those stories about FEMA actually turning away help.’
      • ‘Yet again, you have to wonder about the company Tony keeps and his apparent fondness for sucking up to media barons and other people of wealth or influence.’
      • ‘I have to wonder about the sanity of any person, watching people line up for food and spout this drivel.’
      • ‘She began to wonder about her husband on route from Newark, New Jersey, for San Francisco, and then a call confirmed her worst fears.’
      • ‘Here's the kind of thing that makes you wonder about the press these days.’
      • ‘It is sometimes suggested that, had they stuck to a career in the courts, Howard would have been the bigger success, but I wonder about that.’
      • ‘Still, I have to wonder about the raucous calls we hear for storming ramparts in far-off places.’
      • ‘But it also makes you wonder about our leaders and the institutions that produce them.’
      • ‘Progressives have every right to wonder about the ‘choice’ agenda too.’
  • 2Feel admiration and amazement; marvel.

    ‘people stood by and wondered at such bravery’
    ‘a wondering look on her face’
    • ‘Talking to them, we wondered at the freedom they had enjoyed from an early age.’
    • ‘She wondered at the invisibility that her clothing offered her.’
    • ‘He followed her brisk stride, through the hallways and into her office, all the while wondering at the marvel that was Katherine Wood.’
    • ‘He'd expected no thanks for his intervention - maybe perhaps more of a verbal assault - but instead she'd given him an amazed, sweet, wondering look, the look of a woman who had finally seen him as a man.’
    marvel, be amazed, be filled with amazement, be filled with admiration, be astonished, be surprised, be awed, stand in awe, be full of wonder, be lost for words, not believe one's ears, not believe one's eyes, not know what to say, be dumbfounded, gape, goggle, gawk
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    1. 2.1 Be surprised.
      ‘if I feel compassion for her, it is not to be wondered at’
      • ‘I nodded, surprised, and wondering why I'd confide in a teacher, then grabbled my backpack and left the classroom.’
      • ‘I opened my mouth in surprise, wondering why she changed topics so quickly.’
      • ‘I was shocked, surprised, and still wondering how he had found me - he had just stepped out of the shadows, saving the day.’
      • ‘Now I'm wondering if Sergei was surprised to see it, in ‘real life’ etc.’
      • ‘But, because of my past, I think it took a lot of people by surprise. They wondered what was happening to me.’
      • ‘I was surprised, wondering if there was anything wrong with me.’
      • ‘Taro looked at her in surprise, clearly wondering why she was telling him this.’
      • ‘Surprised, I wondered why something wasn't burning.’
      • ‘Andy looked at Tarah in surprise, wondering how she had made the connection.’
      • ‘The girl halted in surprise and wondered as the white-haired new comer approached her timidly.’
      be surprised, express surprise, find it surprising, be amazed, be astonished
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  • i shouldn't wonder

    • informal I think it likely.

      • ‘Probably queer, as well, I shouldn't wonder.’
      • ‘Backhanders from the publishers, I shouldn't wonder, judging by the sycophantic drivel they've written.’
      • ‘Closed his eyes and thought of woggles, I shouldn't wonder.’
      • ‘She'll have died by the time I get back, I shouldn't wonder, but I need to bring a Chemist to try to heal her wounds.’
      • ‘Just sign up as a professional after-dinner speaker and people will listen in wonderment to how you almost made a success out of such a damned silly idea - seven and half thousand pounds a time I shouldn't wonder, and maybe more.’
      • ‘Probably East German or Slavic, I shouldn't wonder.’
      • ‘Sound carries along way around here too, I shouldn't wonder… It is very still today, but I must say, the eyes of your handyman are something I do surely miss.’
      • ‘Central tenet of his being, and the book I shouldn't wonder.’
      • ‘Jon was more than happy with losing the match to get us out of there, so we left - or rather the group left, dragging me with it - muttering to myself, I shouldn't wonder.’
      • ‘All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder.’
  • no (or little or small) wonder

    • It is not surprising.

      ‘it is little wonder that the fax machine is so popular’
      • ‘It was no wonder that she passed the examinations at three levels in first class.’
      • ‘Therefore, it's no wonder the cold glass of beer, and the chance to sit down, at the end of the evening felt so good.’
      • ‘It is no wonder that millions consider this discrimination against Muslims.’
      • ‘But if that's anything to go by it's no wonder we never have decent Christmas lights.’
      • ‘With comments like that, it is little wonder that the market was surprised by the sellout move.’
      • ‘So it's no wonder that the frothing of milk has become a critical issue here in Australia.’
      • ‘No wonder tots are frustrated, no wonder they lie on the floor kicking and hollering.’
      • ‘If the enforcement agencies too think so, no wonder so many of them are being so successful.’
      • ‘It's no wonder that it is thought of as a dirty and degrading profession.’
      • ‘It's no wonder therefore that Paul is confident that he could do this for a living.’
  • ninety-day (or thirty-day or one-day) wonder

    • 1Something that attracts enthusiastic interest for a short while but is then ignored or forgotten.

      • ‘But plunge into the undergrowth of corporate Britain and you will always find numerous examples of strategies stood on their heads, investors nursing burnt fingers and ventures that turned out to be one-day wonders.’
      • ‘Was it just a nine days' wonder that faded as fast as it arrived?’
      • ‘And 1.09 million of those were one-day wonders.’
      • ‘It's hard to know if Cameron's ‘happiness’ was a one-day wonder or if it will be the stuff of real politics.’
      • ‘The Italian cannot help create the impression that he considers final wins to be one-day wonders.’
      • ‘I don't normally keep a diary, so I will retrospectively reconstruct the main events and impressions of a seven-day wonder that had no precedent.’
      • ‘Monday's drubbings on judicial scrutiny, the burden of proof and the role of the director of public prosecutions proved yesterday to be anything but a one-day wonder.’
      • ‘It means good policies like this children's paper are lost as one-day wonders, not part of a coherent story’.’
      • ‘Animal Rights groups here are voluntary and struggle to campaign whilst faced with an apathetic response once the initial seven-day wonder period of a highlighted abuse passes.’
      • ‘A week is not a long time but I suppose the Budget by its very nature is designed to be a one-hit and one-day wonder.’
      1. 1.1A person who has had intensive military training for the specified time.
        • ‘Officers-in-training were with us for three months, hence their nickname "ninety-day wonders."’
  • wonders will never cease

    • An exclamation of great surprise at something pleasing.

      • ‘Having a laugh with the old pair, wonders will never cease, before returning to watch Andy Garcia passing judgement on the TV screen, glass of wine to hand.’
      • ‘And it is still going - wonders will never cease.’
      • ‘A teenager who doesn't seize the opportunity to lounge about the house, wonders will never cease.’
  • work (or do) wonders

    • Have a very beneficial effect on someone or something.

      ‘a good night's sleep can work wonders for mind and body’
      • ‘Mountain air does wonders for one's appetite, and there's some memorable cuisine to look forward to.’
      • ‘With time running out, Reed brought Iain Dunn, Matty Albery and Paul Stansfield off the bench and the move worked wonders.’
      • ‘Gunnado Farm near Walkaway has not only wonderful views but it does wonders to help young people find their way.’
      • ‘The mid-term break will do wonders to rest the minds too, because this victory was fashioned and won in the head as much as the flesh.’
      • ‘The loving care of his keepers has worked wonders in Simba, who is able to move around without much difficulty, these days.’
      • ‘I think this club does wonders for the area and does wonders for the kids.’
      • ‘The addition of surround effects does wonders for the audio space.’
      • ‘I have recovered from my trek in the mountains, just about, though one must admit it does wonders for the toning, just not so good for the feet.’
      • ‘Getting a good nights sleep does wonders for your sex life!’
      • ‘‘A good nights sleep does wonders for the body,’ Mrs. Kerrigan agreed.’


Old English wundor (noun), wundrian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wonder and German Wunder, of unknown ultimate origin.