Definition of amazing

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Despite not walking away with the AGT title, Courtney did score something pretty amazing just a few months later: a record deal. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'AGT' Star Courtney Hadwin's Time on the Show Was More Controversial Than People Realize," 14 Jan. 2019 Then something happened, which was really something quite amazing. Pamela Adlon, Glamour, "Pamela Adlon: I Find Hope in the Art of Self Acceptance," 11 Nov. 2018 Then once in a while, something amazing will happen in that person’s life that everyone cares about. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Taking a page from YouTube, Snap VP Nick Bell wants to find the next generation of media stars," 25 Oct. 2018 Original post: Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft hasn't garnered much attention in the western world, but on Friday night the 609kg vehicle attempted something rather amazing. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Two Japanese robots are now happily hopping on an asteroid [Updated]," 22 Sep. 2018 The internet can be a scary place sometimes (OK, a lot of the time), but every once in a while, something amazing happens. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Someone Gave Carly Rae Jepsen a Sword at Lollapalooza," 5 Aug. 2018 Not just amazing at their jobs, but SPECTACULAR humans!! Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "HGTV’s New Show Is Like 'Love It or List It'—With a Crazy Plot Twist," 7 Feb. 2019 Its amazing to have seen a series that addresses relevant issues like teenage pregnancy, father-son issues, being both gay and a christian, peer pressure, etc. in just one show. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Here's Everything We Know About "Sex Education" Season 2," 14 Jan. 2019 The views were amazing, as was watching her fly and getting to know her history. Georgia Dean, Condé Nast Traveler, "Co-Piloting a 54-Day Flight With My Dad: Dispatch #1," 5 Sep. 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.

See More

First Known Use of amazing

1593, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for amazing

see amaze entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about amazing

Dictionary Entries near amazing








Statistics for amazing

Last Updated

26 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for amazing

The first known use of amazing was in 1593

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for amazing



English Language Learners Definition of amazing

: causing great surprise or wonder : causing amazement

Keep scrolling for more

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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!