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 But its most audacious aspiration is something else entirely: a plan to usher in an era of sustainable lunar operations by mining the moon’s reserves of water ice. Leonard David, Scientific American, "NASA’s Hunt for Lunar Water Intensifies," 24 June 2020 The trade is audacious even for Bass, who profited handsomely during the subprime crisis but has since had less success with doomsday calls on everything from Japanese government bonds to the Chinese yuan. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Dallas investor Kyle Bass starts fund that’s banking on a Hong Kong currency collapse," 9 June 2020 Successfully carrying humans to space would mark the latest breakthrough for a company known for setting audacious goals. Julie Johnsson, Bloomberg.com, "SpaceX Astronauts Reach Space Station After Milestone Voyage," 30 May 2020 The half-a-trillion-dollar megacity is the most audacious example of the economic and social transformation Prince Mohammed envisions for his country. Vivian Nereim, Bloomberg.com, "Hope Turns to Doubt, Then Gunfire, as Saudi Megacity Emerges," 8 May 2020 The tech wizards hit on an audacious scheme to lay 1,000 miles of fiber-optic cable from their Midwest home to New York, giving them a fractional edge in their transactions with the New York Stock Exchange. Los Angeles Times, "What’s on TV Saturday: ‘Patsy & Loretta’ on Lifetime," 18 Oct. 2019 And the agency is already engaged in the most audacious project in its history. Chuck Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Onward To Mars: What Our Journey To the Red Planet Might Look Like," 24 July 2019 But the cautious trio-ized version, neither symphonic here nor jazz there, came across as less audacious than the L.A. Phil’s fully symphonic performance two nights earlier of the concerto with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Los Angeles Times, "Review: In San Diego and Thousand Oaks, new music directors hail new orchestral eras," 8 Oct. 2019 But, if the source of his confidence is mysterious, its destination is clear: Hayes’s audacious claims to space and selfhood are everywhere in hip-hop. Emily Lordi, The New Yorker, "How Isaac Hayes Changed Soul Music," 1 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

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Audacious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/audacious. Accessed 9 Jul. 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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