General English



  • noun a sudden unforeseeable event, such as a war or natural calamity, which has an effect on a country’s economy


  • The effect of a passage of current through living tissue. The effects of a shock can range from mild tingling to death, depending on the strength of the current, the points where it enters and leaves the body, whether the heart is along its path, if the skin is wet, and so on. Under many circumstances, a current of 0.1 ampere for 1 second may be fatal. electric shocks may also be utilized for therapeutic reasons, such as restoring the normal rhythm to a heart which is twitching uncontrollably. Also called electric shock.
  • A rapid pulse, signal, acceleration, vibration, acceleration, impact, or other such event which is applied to a component, circuit, device, piece of equipment, system, material, or the like.
  • Any disturbance or other change due to a shock (2).


  • noun a state of weakness caused by illness or injury that suddenly reduces the blood pressure
  • verb to give someone an unpleasant surprise, and so put him or her in a state of shock


  • noun an effect caused by the violent collision of two objects
  • noun physical collapse, as a result of a serious wound or horrifying experience


  • noun a state of physiological collapse, marked by a weak pulse, coldness, sweating and irregular breathing, and resulting from a situation such as blood loss, heart failure, allergic reaction or emotional trauma

Origin & History of “shock”

English has two words shock in current general usage. Shock ‘heavy blow, unpleasant surprise’ (16th c.) was borrowed from French choc, a derivative of the verb choquer ‘strike’, whose origins are unknown. Shock ‘thick shaggy mass of hair’ (19th c.) is a nominalization of an earlier adjective shock ‘thick and shaggy’ (17th c.), but it is not clear where this came from. It has been linked with the obsolete shough, which referred to a sort of dog, and another possibility is that it is connected with the now little used shock ‘stack of sheaves of corn’ (14th c.). This was probably borrowed from middle Dutch or Middle Low German schok.