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

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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 Also amazing will be the difficulty getting dinner reservations as people follow the CDC director's advice and get back to it. Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, "Vaccinated Americans, go wild!," 13 May 2021 Cats of all sizes love boxes of all sizes, and the results are just amazing. Chris Smith, BGR, "Scientists prove that cats are instinctively attracted to boxes," 12 May 2021 And where the ninth episode is amazing on almost every level the finale is a bit of an anticlimax. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, "‘The Underground Railroad’: Barry Jenkins’ Gorgeous Journey Into American Darkness," 10 May 2021 How amazing and needed is a show about racial justice in the medical field and inequity and equality? Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Sarah Drew Says Her Grey’s Anatomy Return Is Setting Japril Up for a ‘Great Journey’," 7 May 2021 Not just for the history-in-a-glass aspect—although drinking anything made more than a century ago is pretty amazing—but because today’s rye simply doesn’t taste the same. Tony Sachs, Robb Report, "How This Distillery Revived a Long-Lost Style of American Whiskey," 7 May 2021 And the waving of other Jeep owners is totally amazing. Mike Jordan, WSJ, "Driving This 1995 Jeep Wrangler Is ‘Like High-Fiving Somebody’," 1 May 2021 Our alumni and players’ parents, everybody was so amazing and loving to our kids and our program. Dom Amore, courant.com, "Dom Amore: How alums saved UConn men’s golf, and coach Dave Pezzino and his players captured the Big East title," 30 Apr. 2021 Poetry was just amazing as an outlet for queerness and intensity and exhaustion. Lakshmi Gandhi, NBC News, "12 queer and trans poets to read for National Poetry Month," 30 Apr. 2021

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

from present participle of amaze entry 1

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Time Traveler for amazing

Time Traveler

The first known use of amazing was in 1593

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Statistics for amazing

Last Updated

17 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Amazing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amazing. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for amazing

amazing

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of amazing

: causing great surprise or wonder : causing amazement

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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