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 Almonte, Green, and Grossman admitted that the jerseys are audacious. BostonGlobe.com, "Red Sox unveil yellow jerseys as part of ‘City Connect’ venture with Nike," 6 Apr. 2021 Therefore, goal setting—especially for audacious goals that are unlikely to be met, or even ordinary goals during times like the present—might lead to a lot more unhappiness than happiness. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, "Dream the Possible Dream," 25 Mar. 2021 The audacious goal of achieving carbon neutrality in the global corporate community is nearing a tipping point. Beau River, Forbes, "A Sustainability Revolution Is Coming, Are Leaders Ready?," 2 Mar. 2021 Recall that there was a time when this seemed like an audacious, even arrogant, goal. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, "Tiger Woods and Another Terrible Turn of Fate," 25 Feb. 2021 Over the next two years, McCarthy and I traveled together through England, France, and Italy to retrace Thomas North’s footsteps along the trail of McCarthy’s audacious theories. BostonGlobe.com, "How a college dropout in New Hampshire found a Shakespeare secret all the PhDs missed," 19 Mar. 2021 But neither of these come close to supporting many of the more audacious claims out there about alkaline water. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, "FDA: Did This Alkaline Water Brand Cause 5 Cases Of Liver Failure?," 19 Mar. 2021 The audacious spree, police officials said Thursday, accounted for five of 21 armed robberies and armed carjackings in the D.C. region linked to the same four-person crew in January and February. Washington Post, "4 people, 8 carjackings and 13 robberies: Police take down group accused in D.C.-area crime spree," 18 Mar. 2021 Still, by encouraging billions of people to post photos of themselves online alongside their names, tech companies provided the ingredients for such a product to succeed, were anyone audacious enough to violate the platforms’ boilerplate legalese. New York Times, "What Happens When Our Faces Are Tracked Everywhere We Go?," 18 Mar. 2021

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

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Audacious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/audacious. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for audacious

audacious

adjective

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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