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Astounding! Why Not Astonished?

   By: Bill Platt

The use of certain words in the English language annoy me. Perhaps it is just a personal pet peeve and perhaps I am just overreacting.

*Astounded* and *astounding* are two versions of a word that peeves me to no end. In my little mind, these two words are used far too often.

There are so many better words that convey the exact same meaning as *astound*, so why do I never hear the news and television people use those other synonyms? (surprise, astonish, amaze, astound, dumbfound, flabbergast.)

Why not *astonish* or its many variations? In my mind, this is a much better word.

Perhaps it comes from a need for news people to exaggerate a news story for effect. This is what bugs me about the variations of *astound.* *Astound-* strikes me as a more exaggerated method of describing the surprise or wonder attached to the word.

Even in's list of synonyms listed above, *astound* falls fourth in line as a synonym for *surprise*, as opposed to *astonish* which is the second defined synonym for *surprise.*

This is such a strongly held irritation that I have began to annoy my wife by pointing out the overuse of this word.

Every time Geraldo or one of the other news people convey their message with the word *astounding*, I yell out, *Why not astonishing??*

I am truly astonished, shocked and dismayed every time I hear the variations of the word *astound-*, so much so that I just want to scream about it from the highest hills.

So here I am, screaming from my soapbox:

Quit *astounding* me. Instead, *astonish* me with some real creativity in the vocabulary used in your next television talk show.

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