Definition of appal in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈpɔːl/
(US appall)

verb (appals, appalling, appalled)

[with object]
Greatly dismay or horrify: bankers are appalled at the economic incompetence of some ministers (as adjective appalled) Alison looked at me, appalled
More example sentences
  • Those who aren't outraged are merely appalled, if not by the lyrics, by the production.
  • I was similarly appalled at the condition of the park on my last visit to my home village two years ago.
  • He looked shocked and appalled by this and turned his attention onto Alex.


Middle English: from Old French apalir 'grow pale', from a- (from Latin ad 'to, at') + palir 'to pale'. The original sense was 'grow pale', later 'make pale', hence 'horrify' (late Middle English).

  • Like abhor, appal has its origin in the physical effect of being horrified. Old French apalir meant both ‘to grow pale’ and ‘to make pale’, and these senses were carried over into the English word in the 14th century. As shock or disgust can make the colour drain from your face, appal soon acquired its current meaning.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: appal

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