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startle (v.)

c. 1300, " move agitatedly, run to and fro" (intransitive), also "caper, romp, skip; leap, jump;" from Old English steartlian, from the source of start (v.) + frequentative suffix -le (as in topple, jostle, fizzle, etc. Sense of "move suddenly in surprise or fear" first recorded 1520s. Transitive meaning "frighten suddenly" is from 1590s. The word retains more of the original meaning of start (v.). Related: Startled; startling; startlingly. As a noun from 1714.

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Definitions of startle from WordNet
1
startle (v.)
to stimulate to action;
the loud noise startled him awake
Synonyms: galvanize / galvanise
startle (v.)
move or jump suddenly, as if in surprise or alarm;
She startled when I walked into the room
Synonyms: jump / start
2
startle (n.)
a sudden involuntary movement;
Synonyms: jump / start
From wordnet.princeton.edu