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

Lean towards linen for suits, shirts, or both, to not only look, but feel, amazing! Charlotte Chilton, Town & Country, "10 Outfits Every Man Should Wear This Summer," 18 Apr. 2019 Well being on set with Nina was nothing short of amazing. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Nina Dobrev Shows Off Her Dance Skills In New Shawn Mendes Choreo Video," 15 Mar. 2019 If this interview leads to it being increased to $500,000, that would be amazing. Charles Curkin, ELLE Decor, "Deana Haggag on Giving Artists $50,000 Without Expecting Anything in Return," 9 Apr. 2019 Of all the amazing and (sometimes) unsettling ways your body changes during pregnancy, your feet swelling for apparently no reason may be one of the more alarming. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "What Jessica Simpson—and Every Other Pregnant Person—Should Know About Swollen Feet," 11 Jan. 2019 This experience has just been amazing: getting me back on my feet, getting me back into my love for acting. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The CW’s In the Dark Is a Compelling Look at the Blind Experience," 4 Apr. 2019 The only difference is that Duke now has Zion Williamson, who’s back on the court after vaporizing his own sneaker, and Zion Williamson is amazing. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "It’s Never Been Smarter to Hate Duke," 20 Mar. 2019 The trap holds the positrons for about a second, which is pretty amazing. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Technical tour-de-force traps positrons," 11 Dec. 2018 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

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

21 May 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).


one that collects or salvages junk

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