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 Ghosn is currently in Lebanon after making an audacious escape from Japan last month. Sherisse Pham, CNN, "Nissan says it's not splitting up with Renault," 14 Jan. 2020 He would not be drawn on the details of his audacious flight, said to involve boxes with air holes and a private jet. The Economist, "Ghosn in the flightcase Carlos Ghosn speaks in Beirut," 11 Jan. 2020 For months, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been advocating for an audacious counterterrorism strike that two previous administrations had deemed too risky. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Successful Soleimani strike cements Pompeo’s status as de facto secretary of defense," 9 Jan. 2020 Earlier this month, Zelenskiy’s first meeting with Putin ended uneventfully: The Ukrainian leader doesn’t really have a mandate for an audacious gambit like holding elections in the areas now controlled by pro-Russian forces. Leonid Bershidsky, Twin Cities, "Leonid Bershidsky: Ukraine’s Zelenskiy showed he’s the anti-Putin in 2019," 26 Dec. 2019 In the latest issue of Fortune, my colleague Robert Hackett has a deep dive on Facebook’s audacious digital payments proposal. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Why Facebook Really, Really Wants Its Cryptocurrency Project Libra to Succeed," 19 Dec. 2019 June 21/Keanu goes Caboom: Reeves stole the animated show in Toy Story 4 as Duke Caboom, an audacious Canadian daredevil with a tragic Canadian past who broke new ground in mustache representation among action figures. Ew Staff, EW.com, "EW reveals its 2019 Entertainers of the Year: Lizzo, Awkwafina, the cast of Succession, and more," 11 Dec. 2019 After two terms of George W Bush’s wars, Obama successfully ran on a message of audacious hope. Time, "The Real 2020 Battle Lines: 'Hope' Versus 'Change'," 4 Dec. 2019 There were more popular shows this decade (Game of Thrones certainly comes to mind), but The Leftovers best represents the type of weird, audacious, diverse story that populated TV screens during the 2010s. Oliver Staley, Quartzy, "The 2010s will be remembered as the decade of avocado toast and BTS," 29 Nov. 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

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Audacious.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/audaciousness. Accessed 19 January 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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