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

Fifty years later, television is commemorating the audacious historic achievement with a long parade of documentaries and specials. Chuck Barney, The Mercury News, "10 moon-landing TV specials you’ll want to see," 5 July 2019 That’s because Davies slyly builds his genre-bending world by giving us an audacious mix of family soap opera, near-future science fiction, dystopian thriller and political commentary. Mark Dawidziak,, "‘Years and Years’ takes a disturbing look into the near future," 21 June 2019 Goncharova was far more audacious when tackling subjects inspired by the new machine age. Richard Cork, WSJ, "‘Natalia Goncharova’ Review: An Exuberant Vision," 12 June 2019 Four years ago, Erin Salazar launched the Exhibition District, an audacious idea to paint murals on some 40,000 square feet of blank walls in San Jose. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, "San Jose artist selected for $150,000 Knight Foundation fellowship," 19 June 2019 Lagerfeld also started his own label, Karl Lagerfeld, which though less commercially successful than his other ventures, was widely seen as a sort of sketchpad where the designer worked through his audacious ideas. Thomas Adamson And Samuel Petrequin,, "Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel dies in Paris," 19 Feb. 2019 Related Inspired by the success of small satellites orbiting Earth, U.S. and European aerospace engineers are coming up with audacious ideas for inexpensive, high-risk deep space missions. Robert Lee Hotz, WSJ, "Headed to Mars: A Big Experiment in Tiny Satellites," 22 Nov. 2018 Its audacious goal is to help eliminate the need for animals from the meat supply by 2035. CNN, "Impossible made fake meat a hot commodity. Now it could be a victim of its own success," 27 June 2019 But seven of the last 11 Pixar films have been sequels, most a notch or two worse than the original, and all reflecting a parent company that’s more focused on paying off existing properties than dazzling audiences with unfamiliar, audacious ideas. Scott Tobias, The Verge, "Toy Story 4 lowers the stakes and ramps up the whimsy," 21 June 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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Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

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The first known use of audacious was in 1550

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More Definitions for audacious



English Language Learners Definition of audacious

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


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

What made you want to look up audacious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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