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

But three decades of peace and economic prosperity have allowed Uganda to secure and improve its parks and reserves, and the rebound is amazing. Tom Hanscom, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Wildlife rebound in Uganda," 11 July 2019 Heidi Keller from the University of Osnabrück [in Germany] and her lab did decades of amazing work with the Nso community in Cameroon, asking parents about their strategies. Kai Kupferschmidt, Science | AAAS, "Is the Western mind too WEIRD to study?," 11 July 2019 Such an amazing, vibrant, stimulating place to work. Jeff Duncan,, "My front row seat to the Golden Age of New Orleans sports," 28 June 2019 The refs are amazing and help the kids out in the games. Gary Curreri,, "Blue Wolves win Coral Springs Basketball Club girls title," 27 June 2019 Formal and informal living spaces flow together and connect with an amazing and inviting backyard sanctuary. Monica Lander, The Mercury News, "Sponsored: Pristine property at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in Almaden Valley," 25 June 2019 The fact that this table can fit on a small patio is amazing. Tainaya Nash, House Beautiful, "Amazon's Selling an Outdoor Table That Turns into a Fire Pit," 24 June 2019 And although the fakes are far from 100 percent realistic, the results are amazing considering how little data is needed. James Vincent, The Verge, "New deepfake tech turns a single photo and audio file into a singing video portrait," 20 June 2019 May your new life together be amazing and full of love and wonder! Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Alaskan Bush People's Gabe Brown Married Raquell Rose for the Second Time in 5 Months," 17 June 2019

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








Statistics for amazing

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for amazing

The first known use of amazing was in 1593

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More Definitions for amazing



English Language Learners Definition of amazing

: causing great surprise or wonder : causing amazement

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More from Merriam-Webster on amazing

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with amazing

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for amazing

Spanish Central: Translation of amazing

Nglish: Translation of amazing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of amazing for Arabic Speakers

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).


to form ideas or theories about something

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