amazing

adjective

amaz·​ing ə-ˈmā-ziŋ How to pronounce amazing (audio)
: 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.
Recent Examples on the Web Our friend Honor Titus, who’s an amazing painter, suggested it. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 9 July 2024 An amazing new luxury experience Boston was lacking! — T+L Reader The Full List 1. Rachel Chang, Travel + Leisure, 9 July 2024 And while Tiki cocktails taste amazing, many of them don’t look amazing. Tiffany Hopkins, Bon Appétit, 9 July 2024 Amidst all of the amazing performances, the focus of the evening was geared towards Frankie Beverly’s final farewell. Okla Jones, Essence, 9 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for amazing 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'amazing.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

from present participle of amaze entry 1

First Known Use

1593, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of amazing was in 1593

Dictionary Entries Near amazing

Cite this Entry

“Amazing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amazing. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

amazing

adjective
: causing amazement, great wonder, or surprise

More from Merriam-Webster on amazing

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