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

Other Words from audacious

audaciously adverb
audaciousness noun

Did you know?

Audacious first appeared in English in the mid-1500s. It was borrowed from the Middle French adjective audacieux, which was derived from the noun audace ("boldness, audacity"). Audace came from the Latin audacia, a derivative of the Latin root audac- ("bold"). Audac- is also the source of audacity, which appeared in Middle English (as audacite) in the 1400s. Audac- can be traced, by way of the Latin verb audēre ("to dare"), to the Latin adjective avidus ("eager" or "greedy"), which was also borrowed by English, either directly from Latin or via the French avide, to give us our adjective avid. Among the early adopters of audacious was William Shakespeare, who used the word seven times in his plays, as in Henry VI, Part 2, where Somerset addresses York with the lines, "I arrest thee, York, / Of capital treason 'gainst the King and crown. / Obey, audacious traitor, kneel for grace."

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web His most audacious example of athleticism came last month in his track debut. Eric Sondheimercolumnist, Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2022 The two men, in the most audacious example of their practice of realpolitik, set in motion events that led to normalized relations with China. Jeffrey Fields, The Conversation, 4 Apr. 2022 Russian President Vladimir Putin and his mouthpieces are weaving the most audacious and fatuous alternative reality surrounding any 21st-century conflict -- one that renders current diplomatic efforts aimed at ending the war meaningless and futile. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 11 Mar. 2022 Fun is not the word that jumps to mind when describing Holmes’ 15-year deception, which ranks among the most audacious financial frauds since Bernie Madoff. Mikey O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Feb. 2022 The docu-series investigates how the North Korean regime went to extreme lengths to eliminate Kim Jong-un’s older brother, Kim Jong-nam, culminating in the most audacious political assassination of the 21st century. Todd Spangler, Variety, 18 Feb. 2022 Among the most audacious was one that said Mr. Trump could use the Defense Department to seize voting machines based on false claims that there had been foreign interference in the election. New York Times, 24 Jan. 2022 And goodbye to Bernie Madoff, architect of one of the most audacious Ponzi schemes ever. CBS News, 26 Dec. 2021 In probing this riddle, Dickinson pushed the boundaries of anachronistic storytelling—and became one of the most audacious series on TV. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 24 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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-,-āx, 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

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Audacious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for audacious


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

More from Merriam-Webster on audacious

Nglish: Translation of audacious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of audacious for Arabic Speakers


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