Flabbergasted

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Jignesh77

Senior Member
India- hindi
surprise (someone) greatly; astonish.
"this news has left me totally flabbergasted"
I saw the above example in the Oxford online dictionary.
What is the grammatical form and function of "flabbergasted" in the above?
This news : subject
Has left : verb
Totally (an adverb)
it seems an adjective to me but I am confused between its function as a verb and an adjective
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes. Flabbergasted is an adjective.

    There is a verb “to flabbergast”, but it’s very rarely used. The main British corpus contains no examples at all of “flabbergast” or “flabbergasts”. The main American one contains only 4 of the former and 2 of the latter.
     

    Jignesh77

    Senior Member
    India- hindi
    Thanks
    • We were flabbergasted by/at the news that he'd won the game.
      Is it a passive verb or functioning as an adjective describing the state we were in ?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There’s absolutely no reason to see that as representng a passive verbal use. Lots of participles act as adjectives in their own right, and are classified as such by the main dictionaries. This is one of them.

    The news flabbergasted me. :tick:
    I’m/I was flabbergasted by that news. :tick::thumbsup:
    I’ve been flabbergasted. :thumbsdown::eek:
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    No one would say that – because the word is hardly ever used as a verb, only as an adjective! It sounds like something a comedian would say to get a laugh.

    In fact, in the 1970 film Carry On Up the Jungle, apparently the comedian Frankie Howerd did say “My ghast has never been so flabbered!”. :D
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Sometimes, it matters whether you're talking about a past-participle adjective or a passive construction:
    They were married by the local vicar on 25 March 1972.
    They were married for 25 years.


    With flabbergasted, it probably doesn't.
    There's little or no difference in meaning between:
    We were flabbergasted by the news.
    We were flabbergasted at the news.
     
    Last edited:

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    'Flabbergasted' by itself is an extreme reaction to something, and 'very' is not as emphatic as 'utterly,' 'totally,' or 'completely,' which work better for me.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    No, "very" doesn't work with "flabbergasted". But the reason it doesn't is that "flabbergasted" already contains the idea of being very-very-very surprised. In a similar way, we don't say that something is "very excellent".

    .....
    Cross-posted:)
     

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    In addition to the quotation given by lingobingo in #9, there is another: "My flabber is gasted!"
    This is of course not standard English.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I've just looked in OED, and they actually give a noun form
    flabbergastation n. the action of flabbergasting; the state of being flabbergasted.​

    The only quote is from the magazine Punch, (from 1856) which does make it rather suspect.
     
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