amazing

adjective

Definition of amazing 

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Situated in the forest overlooking the St. Lawrence River, the domes look like any other dome from the outside (which is to say, like amazing alien pods). Liz Stinson, Curbed, "You can rent these modern geodesic domes nestled in a forest," 15 Nov. 2018 The human body is amazing and can adapt to demand when trained incrementally and progressively. SELF, "6 Tips for Pushing Fear Aside So You Can Finally Reach Your Fitness Goals," 31 Oct. 2018 Drones are amazing and cool and powerful, but traditionally they can be thwarted by an impenetrable obstacle that has vexed drone creators and pilots for years: doors. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Inspired by Wasps, This Micro-Drone Lifts 40 Times its Weight," 25 Oct. 2018 Many people don’t realize that the amazing beauty of nature extends to the microscopic world. Ernie Mastroianni, Discover Magazine, "Meet the Man Who Takes Pictures of Microbes," 18 Oct. 2018 Keep in mind, this window treatment is more about looking amazing and less about being functional. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, "This Branch Curtain Rod Is Gorgeous—And Surprisingly Easy To DIY," 9 Oct. 2018 The orbiting Howard Johnson's is amazing, ridiculous, and frequented by Brylcreemed all-Americans who've just walked out of a 1950s ad for cigarettes. Peter Opaskar, Ars Technica, "2001 in 70mm: Pod bay doors look better than ever, still won’t open," 21 July 2018 Todd will be remembered as an amazing and dedicated father. OrlandoSentinel.com, "Deaths in Central Florida: 7/14," 14 July 2018 To check out all the amazing and occasionally eerie highlights from this NOAA expedition, visit the expedition’s page. Kelli Bender, ajc, "'Horror' lizardfish and weird unidentifiable creatures found chilling off Carolina coast," 13 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of amazing

1593, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for amazing

see amaze entry 1

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Learn More about amazing

Dictionary Entries near amazing

amazeiner

amazement

Amazilia

amazing

amazingly

amazon

Amazon

Statistics for amazing

Last Updated

19 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for amazing

The first known use of amazing was in 1593

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More Definitions for amazing

amazing

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of amazing

: causing great surprise or wonder : causing amazement

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Comments on amazing

What made you want to look up amazing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

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