audacious

adjective
au·​da·​cious | \ ȯ-ˈdā-shəs How to pronounce audacious (audio) \

Definition of audacious

1a : intrepidly daring : adventurous an audacious mountain climber
b : recklessly bold : rash an audacious maneuver
2 : contemptuous of law, religion, or decorum : insolent an audacious maverick
3 : marked by originality and verve audacious experiments

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Other Words from audacious

audaciously adverb
audaciousness noun

Did You Know?

Shakespeare used "audacious" seven times in his plays. That in itself wasn't exactly an act of bold originality. The word, which comes from the Latin root audac- ("bold"), had been around for decades. But the Bard was the first to use "audacious" in its "insolent" sense ("Obey, audacious traitor; kneel for grace," Henry VI Part 2), and he may have been the first to use the adverb "audaciously." "Audacious" itself was something of an innovation in the 16th century: it was one of the earliest "-acious" words in English. Subsequently, we've added lots of "-acious" adjectives to our lexicon, including "pugnacious," "loquacious," "voracious," and even, in the 19th century, "bodacious" (which is most likely a combination of "bold" and "audacious").

Examples of audacious in a Sentence

Whatever made him think his audacious fiction would sell—especially after a lifetime of literary marginalization—is a mystery, but he has certainly been vindicated. With a rush of work that he did not begin publishing until he was in his forties, he won literary fame in Europe and Latin America. — Valerie Sayers, Commonweal, 13 July 2007 This is an audacious claim, and Kramer anticipates, even encourages, the controversy it might provoke. — Gary Greenberg, Harper's, August 2005 … Morgan Pressel, the top-ranked female amateur in the country, has charted a less audacious course. A 17-year-old scrapper who gained prominence by tying for second at the U.S. Women's Open in June, Pressel is satisfied with taking on and whipping her own kind. — E. M. Swift, Sports Illustrated, 8 Aug. 2005 … he owns and operates a seductively spacious jazz club. But that's his day job, his cover. He executes his audacious midnight burglaries outside of the city, working solo, mapping out every detail so that nothing can go wrong, then returning like a phantom. — Owen Gliberman, Entertainment Weekly, 20 July 2001 They have audacious plans for the new school. This is her most audacious film so far. She made an audacious decision to quit her job.
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Recent Examples on the Web For Volvo, which has a 0.6 percent market share in the United States, to spend money on a spread in a magazine without showing the exterior of the car or even the Volvo name, that's a bit audacious. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "See Volvo's XC40 Recharge EV Move—in an Ad, with Google's Help," 13 Mar. 2020 Based on a true story, Mackie and Jackson portray businessmen who devise an audacious and risky plan to take on the racist establishment of the 1960s by helping other African Americans pursue the American dream. NBC News, "Apple to release 'The Banker' in theaters this March," 17 Jan. 2020 Ghosn, a French, Lebanese, and Brazilian national, showed up in Lebanon on Dec. 30, after an audacious and improbable escape from surveillance in Japan. Sarah El Deeb, BostonGlobe.com, "Lebanon issues travel ban for fugitive ex-Nissan chief Ghosn," 9 Jan. 2020 Ghosn showed up in Lebanon on Dec. 30, after an audacious and improbable escape from surveillance in Japan. Washington Post, "Lawyer of ex-Nissan chief appears before Lebanon prosecutors," 9 Jan. 2020 Baghdadi was undeniably inspirational, audacious, and resourceful. Jonathan Stevenson, The New York Review of Books, "ISIS After Baghdadi," 7 Jan. 2020 Andy Polo, playing in his new central midfield role, headed a bad clearance into the box and Valeri took an audacious side swipe off the bounce and fired it into the back of the net. oregonlive, "The Portland Timbers nab early-season win for the first time in 3 years," 9 Mar. 2020 Plenty of companies offer security certificates; Let’s Encrypt just took the audacious step of making them free. Brian Barrett, Wired, "Last Week's Internet Calamity That Wasn't," 9 Mar. 2020 Into the Spider-Verse, a stylish, risky, audacious effort, represented everything that recent Disney-Pixar films did not. Adam Epstein, Quartz, "Pixar is realizing it needs to get even weirder to maintain its edge," 11 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'audacious.' 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 audacious

1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for audacious

borrowed from Middle French audacieux, from audace "daring, recklessness" (borrowed from Latin audācia, from audāc-, audāx "daring, bold, excessively daring, reckless" + -ia -ia entry 1) + -ieux -ious); audāx from audēre "to intend, dare, venture" (verbal derivative of avidus "ardent, eager, greedy") + -āc-, deverbal suffix denoting habitual or successful performance (probably going back to Indo-European *-eh2, noun ending + *-k-, suffixal formative) — more at avid

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The first known use of audacious was in 1550

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Last Updated

27 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Audacious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/audacious. Accessed 8 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for audacious

audacious

adjective
How to pronounce audacious (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of audacious

: very confident and daring : very bold and surprising or shocking

audacious

adjective
au·​da·​cious | \ ȯ-ˈdā-shəs How to pronounce audacious (audio) \

Kids Definition of audacious

1 : very bold and daring : fearless an audacious scheme
2 : disrespectful of authority : insolent an audacious radio personality

Other Words from audacious

audaciously adverb

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Comments on audacious

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