awe

noun
\ ˈȯ How to pronounce awe (audio) \

Definition of awe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime stood in awe of the king regard nature's wonders with awe

2 archaic

a : dread, terror
b : the power to inspire dread

awe

verb
\ ˈȯ How to pronounce awe (audio) \
awed; awing

Definition of awe (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to inspire or fill with awe We were awed by the beauty of the mountains.

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of awe in a Sentence

Noun

Clem gasped in awe. Inches from the shelf stood a column of scrimshaw the likes of which he'd never seen. — Al Michaud, Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 2005 I expected to be impressed by Machu Picchu, but now that we're here, standing in the clouds atop the world, I'm more than impressed—I'm in awe. Machu Picchu is actually better than photographs suggest, more a timeless way station than archaeological ruin. — Patrick J. Kelly, Traveler, May/June 2005 Organs began to appear in American churches early in the eighteenth century. Their glorious tones promised to harmonize cacophonous congregational singers and to inspire worshippers with a reverential sense of awe, bestirring them to moral improvement. — Jonathan D. Sarna, American Judaism, 2004 It was a sight that filled me with awe and reverence. a person who inspires feelings of awe in others

Verb

We stood at an impasse. If she thought she was getting my bags, she was nuts. I was still awed that they had actually made it through baggage claim in one piece; there was no way I was parting with them now. — Helene Cooper, The House At Sugar Beach, 2008 Most relative neophytes are so awed by having been accepted into the priesthood of specialty medicine and so reluctant to cause themselves trouble in the institutions in which they will work for the coming decades that they would be hesitant to risk offending their seniors. — Sherwin B. Nuland, New York Review of Books, 18 July 2002 But even non-birders cannot help but be awed by the significance of the habitat. All around us creatures dart and dive; birds attracted by fish and water, birds drawn by seeds and chaff. Birds with silly names: loons, boobies, cuckoos, goatsuckers. — Clara Jeffery, Harper's, November 2002 Her style both awes and perplexes me.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In tandem with the collection, created by a hundreds-strong in-house atelier, the location was designed to stimulate sensory shock and awe: total beauty overload. Vogue, "How These 12 Boundary-Breaking Designers Continue to Think Globally," 13 Aug. 2018 Unlike their cinematic equivalents, which exaggerate and explode contemporary anxieties in an increasingly anomic world, these plays ask us to consider our acceptance of gruesome shock and awe as entertainment. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Orlando Bloom and Aidan Turner Are Drenched in Blood in London," 4 July 2018 Alaska basketball players Ruthy Hebard and Kamaka Hepa experienced some shock and awe on the international stage Tuesday. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "No hoops medal for Hebard, but Hepa keeps racking up big wins," 13 June 2018 Men often are in shock or awe and tend to ask questions or give kudos. Meredith Clark, Allure, "5 Women With PCOS Explain Why They Choose to Celebrate Their Facial Hair," 29 May 2018 Not only did May 1968 fail to survive the summer of its birth, but France is now led by a man born nine years after the shock and awe of 1968 came to an end. Alan Wolfe, The New Republic, "A Most Violent Year," 18 May 2018 But there's a counterpoint to the shock and awe of the photo finish or the podium wave -- when the adrenalin rush has gone and you're left dealing with the humdrum of everyday life. US swimmer Missy Franklin knows this all too well. Alex Thomas, CNN, "Five-time gold medalist Missy Franklin opens up about depression," 27 Mar. 2018 As Scott explained in a new interview with Ellen Degeneres, being in the delivery room was an experience that filled him with awe—and a bit of terror. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Travis Scott Says Watching Kylie Jenner Give Birth Was 'Really Scary'," 13 Nov. 2018 Close's Havanese Pip did just that at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival this Sunday, leaving us in awe of both of them. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Glenn Close's Dog Helped Her Accept an Award, Is a Very Good Boy," 4 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Other rulers before him deployed oracles, omens and even impersonations of gods to awe their subjects into obedience. James Romm, WSJ, "‘Soldier, Priest, and God’ Review: The Emperor Divine," 13 Dec. 2018 Cousins won’t be awed by CenturyLink if last year is any indication — recall his late game-winning drive for Washington a year ago. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "A game-by-game breakdown of the Seattle Seahawks’ 2018 schedule," 3 Sep. 2018 In episode 3, Ash catches a Caterpie, a purring caterpillar Pokémon who has a conversation with Pikachu while the pair stargaze, existentially awed by the vastness of the universe. Devon Maloney, The Verge, "Today’s weird kids’ YouTube channels have nothing on the first season of Pokémon," 8 Sep. 2018 Peer said, describing a recent gathering where the couple’s friends were awed by the sight of does grazing at the pond. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "Tiny JoCo town is booming. That's not good for everyone. | The Kansas City Star," 26 Apr. 2018 Kids expect the fest to be a space where they're awed by immersive escapism. Gerrick D. Kennedy, latimes.com, "Experiential events, posh yurts and uber-VIP — will Coachella stand for anything more than its escapism this year?," 12 Apr. 2018 Children across the spectrum, in more or less segregated schools, were awed by a great story that affirmed blackness. Andrew Grant-thomas And Melissa Giraud, Good Housekeeping, "Parents: Maybe Don't Buy Your Kid That Black Panther Costume This Halloween," 11 Oct. 2018 The king showed himself in all his costly majesty to awe the populace, while lavish entertainments kept them happy. Judith Flanders, WSJ, "‘Behind the Throne’ Review: It Takes a Kingdom," 5 Oct. 2018 These days, the boho clan comes for the art, including the obligatory pilgrimage to Judd's Chinati Foundation, and is summarily awed by the setting. Rima Suqi, ELLE Decor, "How an Abandoned Texas Home Is Restored Into an Ethereal Country Getaway," 20 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'awe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of awe

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1597, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for awe

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old Norse agi; akin to Old English ege awe, Greek achos pain

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about awe

Dictionary Entries near awe

away strip

a way to go

awd

awe

awearied

aweary

aweather

Statistics for awe

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for awe

The first known use of awe was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for awe

awe

noun

English Language Learners Definition of awe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a strong feeling of fear or respect and also wonder

awe

verb

English Language Learners Definition of awe (Entry 2 of 2)

: to fill (someone) with awe

awe

noun
\ ˈȯ How to pronounce awe (audio) \

Kids Definition of awe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a feeling of mixed fear, respect, and wonder

awe

verb
awed; awing

Kids Definition of awe (Entry 2 of 2)

: to fill with respect, fear, and wonder

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on awe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with awe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for awe

Spanish Central: Translation of awe

Nglish: Translation of awe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of awe for Arabic Speakers

Comments on awe

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to boil down or concentrate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!