Etymology
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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.

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astonishing (adj.)
"causing wonder or amazement," 1620s, present-participle adjective from astonish. Related: Astonishingly.
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astonishment (n.)
1590s, state of being amazed or shocked with wonder;" see astonish + -ment. Earlier it meant "paralysis" (1570s).
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stun (v.)
early 14c., "to daze or render unconscious" (from a blow, powerful emotion, etc.), probably a shortening of Old French estoner "to stun" (see astonish). Related: Stunned; stunning.
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astound (v.)
mid-15c., from Middle English astouned, astoned (c. 1300), past participle of astonen, astonien "to stun" (see astonish), with more of the original sense of Vulgar Latin *extonare. The unusual form is perhaps because the past participle was so much more common it came to be taken for the infinitive, or/and by the same pattern which produced round (v.) from round (adj.), or by the intrusion of an unetymological -d as in sound (n.1). Related: Astounded; astounding.
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admonish (v.)

mid-14c., amonesten "remind, urge, exhort, warn, give warning," from Old French amonester "urge, encourage, warn" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *admonestare, from Latin admonere "bring to mind, remind (of a debt);" also "warn, advise, urge," from ad "to," here probably with frequentative force (see ad-) + monere "to admonish, warn, advise," from PIE *moneie- "to make think of, remind," suffixed (causative) form of root *men- (1) "to think."

The -d- was restored on Latin model in English as in French (Modern French admonester). The ending was influenced by words in -ish (such as astonish, abolish). Related: Admonished; admonishing. Latin also had commonere "to remind," promonere "to warn openly," submonere "to advise privately" (source of summon).

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distinguish (v.)

1560s, "recognize as different or distinct from what is contiguous or similar; perceive, make out," from French distinguiss-, stem of distinguer, or directly from Latin distinguere "to separate between, keep separate, mark off, distinguish," perhaps literally "separate by pricking," from assimilated form of dis- "apart" (see dis-) + -stinguere "to prick" (compare extinguish and Latin instinguere "to incite, impel").

Watkins says "semantic transmission obscure;" the sense might be from "pricking out" as the old way to make punctuation in parchment or some literal image, but de Vaan derives the second element from a different PIE root meaning "to push, thrust":

The meanings of ex- and restinguere 'to extinguish' and distinguere seem quite distinct, but can be understood if the root meant 'to press' or 'push': ex-stinguere 'to put a fire out', re-stinguere 'to push back, suppress', and dis-stinguere 'to push apart [thence] distinguish, mark off ....

The suffix -ish is due to the influence of many verbs in which it is the equivalent of Old French -iss-, ultimately from Latin inchoative suffix -iscere (this is also the case in extinguish, admonish, and astonish).

Sense of "to mark or note in a way to indicate difference" is from 1570s; that of "separate from others by some mark of honor or preferment" is from c. 1600. Intransitive meaning "make a distinction, find or show difference (between)" is from 1610s. Related: Distinguishing. The Middle English form of the verb was distinguen (mid-14c.).

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rousing (adj.)

"having the power to excite or astonish," 1640s, present-participle adjective from rouse (v.).

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cartoon (n.)

1670s, "a drawing on strong paper" (used as a model for another work), from French carton or directly from Italian cartone "strong, heavy paper, pasteboard," thus "preliminary sketches made by artists on such paper" (see carton). Extension to drawings in newspapers and magazines is by 1843. Originally they were to advocate or attack a political faction or idea; later they were merely comical as well.

Punch has the benevolence to announce, that in an early number of his ensuing Volume he will astonish the Parliamentary Committee by the publication of several exquisite designs, to be called Punch's Cartoons! [Punch, June 24, 1843]

Also see -oon. As "an animated movie," by 1916.

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loose cannon (n.)

in the figurative sense "wildly irresponsible person, potent person or thing freed from usual restraint," by 1896; in the literal sense an object of dread on old warships; the figurative use probably arose from a celebrated scene in a popular late novel by Victor Hugo:

You can reason with a bull dog, astonish a bull, fascinate a boa, frighten a tiger, soften a lion; no resource with such a monster as a loose cannon. You cannot kill it, it is dead; and at the same time it lives. It lives with a sinister life which comes from the infinite. It is moved by the ship, which is moved by the sea, which is moved by the wind. This exterminator is a plaything. [Victor Hugo, "Ninety Three," 1874]
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