Etymology
Advertisement
amaze (v.)

"overwhelm or confound with sudden surprise or wonder," 1580s, a back-formation from Middle English amased "stunned, dazed, bewildered," (late 14c.), earlier "stupefied, irrational, foolish" (c. 1200), from Old English amasod, from a- (1), probably used here as an intensive prefix, + *mæs (see maze). Related: Amazed; amazing.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
amazement (n.)

1590s, "mental stupefaction, state of being astonished," from amaze + -ment. The meaning "overwhelming wonder" is attested from c. 1600.

Related entries & more 
amazing (adj.)

early 15c., "stupefactive;" 1590s, "dreadful;" present-participle adjective from amaze. The sense of "wonderful" is recorded from 1704. Related: Amazingly; amazingness.

Related entries & more 
maze (n.)

c. 1300, "delusion, bewilderment, confusion of thought," possibly from Old English *mæs, which is suggested by the compound amasod "amazed" and verb amasian "to confound, confuse" (compare amaze). Of uncertain origin; perhaps related to Norwegian dialectal mas "exhausting labor," Swedish masa "to be slow or sluggish."

Meaning "labyrinth, baffling network of paths or passages" is recorded from late 14c. (on the notion of something intended to confuse or mislead"). Also as a verb in Middle English, "to stupefy, daze" (early 14c.).

Related entries & more 
stagger (v.)
mid-15c., "walk unsteadily, reel" (intransitive), altered from stakeren (early 14c.), from a Scandinavian source (compare Old Danish stagra, Old Norse stakra "to push, shove, cause to reel," also "to stumble, stagger," perhaps literally "hit with a stick," from Proto-Germanic *stakon- "a stake," from PIE *steg- (1) "pole, stick." Cognate with Dutch staggelen "to stagger," German staggeln "to stammer." Transitive sense of "bewilder, amaze" first recorded 1550s; that of "arrange in a zig-zag pattern" is from 1856. Related: Staggered; staggering.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
astonish (v.)

c. 1300, astonien, "to stun, strike senseless," from Old French estoner "to stun, daze, deafen, astound," from Vulgar Latin *extonare, from Latin ex "out" (see ex-) + tonare "to thunder" (see thunder (n.)); so, literally "to leave someone thunderstruck." The modern form (influenced by English verbs in -ish, such as distinguish, diminish) is attested from 1520s. The meaning "amaze, shock with wonder" is from 1610s.

No wonder is thogh that she were astoned [Chaucer, "Clerk's Tale"]

Related: Astonished; astonishing.

Related entries & more