Surprise Vs. Surprize: an Effective Spelling Guide.

Some English words are spelled in two ways. Words like apologise and realise are spelled as apologize and apologize by others. But this isn’t the case with this word – surprise.

The Etymology of the Word ‘Surprise.’

The word ‘surprise‘ is from the Middle English word ‘surprise,’ which was borrowed from the Middle French word ‘surprise.‘ It is the nominal use of the past participle of Old French ‘sorprendre’, which means (“an overtake”).

Formerly, the word was spelled as surprize until the late 17th century, when it became obsolete. Today, surprize is no longer in use.

Definition of the Word ‘Surprise.’

‘Surprise’ can function as a noun and a verb. When acting as a noun, it means an unexpected event, fact, or occurrence. It also means a feeling caused by something unexpected. Synonyms of the word are astonishment, amazement, wonder, and disbelief.

As a verb, it takes these forms: simple present tense – surprises, past tense – surprised, and present participle – surprising. The verb form of the word means ‘to occur suddenly and unexpectedly, to discover suddenly or to act without warning.’ It also means ‘to take unawares, startle or astonish someone.’

How to Spell Surprise

The accurate spelling of the word is S-U-R-P-R-I-S-E, with two r’s and two s’s – and not suprise or surprize. Suprise is a common misspelling of the word while ‘surprize‘ is an old alternative that is now obsolete.

‘SURPRISE’ is an 8-lettered, disyllabic word with five consonants and three vowels. The phonetic pronunciation of the word is /səˈpɹaɪz/—the stress on the second syllable (sur-PRISE).


  • I’m really surprised to hear you say that!
  • Mary told me she was paying her husband a surprise visit.
  • It was heartwarming to see the surprise and excitement on their faces when they saw their mother.
  • Surprise, surprise! I’m home.
  • The boss took us by surprise with his announcement.
  • The little boy surprised everybody with his speech.
  • It’s surprising to see you do what you condemned.
  • Lee is full of surprises; you never know what to expect.
  • What a pleasant surprise! I wasn’t expecting you today.
person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

To Wrap Up

How to spell surprise? The only correct spelling for the wordS-U-R-P-R-I-S-E. ‘Suprise’ is an outright misspelling, while ‘surprize’ is an old alternative to the word. The term ‘surprize‘ is rare and is considered nonstandard and inappropriate in writing.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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