amazing

adjective
amaz·​ing | \ ə-ˈmā-ziŋ How to pronounce amazing (audio) \

Definition of amazing

: causing astonishment, great wonder, or surprise an amazing story of personal bravery and survival

Can amazing mean "good"?

One common complaint regarding the adjectival use of amazing is the extent to which the word is used in what some feel is a watered-down fashion. Those who take this position argue that unless someone is literally being amazed, the word is ill-chosen.

While this defense of semantic integrity is understandable, we must point out that the broadened meaning of amazing is hardly an isolated case. In fact, a number of words that are semantically similar to amazing have also come unmoored from their original meanings. Fabulous once meant “characteristic of fables," and the earliest known sense of terrific was “exciting fear or awe.” Although the weakened meanings of such words have elicited complaints, most of them have eventually become accepted into the language over the course of time.

That being said, the use of amazing to indicate that something is slightly better than “pleasant” may provoke skepticism in others, so you are advised to know your audience before using it in this way.

Examples of amazing in a Sentence

He showed an amazing lack of concern for others. The amazing thing is that no one knows where it came from. He has an amazing ability to learn new languages. Her grandmother was really an amazing woman.
Recent Examples on the Web In each episode, Adam will dig up the dirt on some of the most famous, infamous and incredible figures in history, unearthing the unknown and surprising stories from these amazing characters. Todd Spangler, Variety, 13 May 2022 Yelich hit the ball to all parts of the field in that amazing offensive outburst. Bernie Pleskoff, Forbes, 13 May 2022 Chicago has many amazing cultural institutions, and there’s no reason not to add to them. Kori Rumore, Chicago Tribune, 13 May 2022 Most business owners are doing their best to build amazing companies and are working to balance the interests of their customers, employees, shareholders and other stakeholders along the way. Rolling Stone Culture Council, Rolling Stone, 13 May 2022 An expert evaluator with acne-prone skin found that her prescription was perfect, providing amazing results from the first day. April Franzino, Good Housekeeping, 13 May 2022 So on Mother's Day 2017, Megan gave Tiffany a bottle of champagne and a card thanking her for being amazing with her son. Wendy Grossman Kantor, PEOPLE.com, 13 May 2022 The photographer [Dania Maxwell] perfectly captured the drama, class and glamour of a bygone era and personified the depth brought to the role by this amazing actor. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2022 Your membership, in fact, is what makes this amazing place possible. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, 13 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'amazing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of amazing

1593, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for amazing

from present participle of amaze entry 1

Learn More About amazing

Time Traveler for amazing

Time Traveler

The first known use of amazing was in 1593

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Dictionary Entries Near amazing

Amazilia

amazing

amazingly

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Statistics for amazing

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Amazing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amazing. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on amazing

Nglish: Translation of amazing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of amazing for Arabic Speakers

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