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
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.

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bench, like so many others in his generation, grew up in awe of Kaline’s prowess at the plate and skill in the field. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, "Johnny Bench Misses His Hall of Fame Friends," 3 May 2021 Of course, the vikings are in awe of this advanced technology and start worshipping the animatronic toy as god — and thus Legends' adorable mascot was born. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, "Legends of Tomorrow cast picks the must-watch episodes for a quick binge," 1 May 2021 Readers ages 12 and older will finish this narrative feeling both better-informed and in awe of the vast forces at work. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: ‘The Secret Life of Stars’ Review," 30 Apr. 2021 After her demonstration, Grisha from the Second Army huddle around her, in awe of her once in a generation power. Olivia Truffaut-wong, refinery29.com, "R29 Recaps: Every Episode From Shadow and Bone Season 1," 27 Apr. 2021 First appearing on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Records annual offering, Dawn showcases sunshine with her vocals and leaves two-steppers in awe of how many times this song makes bodies move on the dance floor. Kevin L. Clark, Essence, "The Funk Is Forever When It Comes To Kalisway," 23 Apr. 2021 Other democrats, worldwide, have been in awe of him since the 1980s. The Editors, National Review, "On Hong Kong, Stay Strong," 20 Apr. 2021 Jennifer Vieth, who heads up Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings, is in awe of bird migration, her enthusiasm covering everything from tiny saw-whet owls to turkey vultures to nighthawks. Val Cunningham Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Spring migration is a great time to catch a parade of birds passing through," 13 Apr. 2021 Since the early 19th century, the region has drawn artists — from renowned landscape artist Thomas Cole to realist painter Edward Hopper — and is now dotted with an awe-inspiring collection of alfresco art parks. Washington Post, "The Hudson Valley’s outdoor art parks make for an alluring pandemic destination," 23 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In any other discipline or demographic, these types of growth metrics would shock and awe. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "1955 Capital’s Andrew Chung on the Atlanta shootings, anti-Asian racism, and a very hard phone call to his father," 23 Mar. 2021 Musician Doja Cat, who's nominated for three individual Grammy Awards this year, stepped onto tonight's red carpet ready to shock and awe. Megan Decker, refinery29.com, "Doja Cat Debuted A Choppy Mullet At The Grammys," 15 Mar. 2021 The latest eruptions of Europe's largest volcano awe even those who study them: For over a week, Sicily's Mount Etna has been belching lava, ash and volcanic rocks on a regular basis. Matt Delong, Star Tribune, "TALKERS022321," 23 Feb. 2021 Shot with a troupe of non-actors playing versions of themselves and awe-inspiring cinematography, Nomadland quietly observes the harsh reality that undermines any idea of the American dream. Zoe Guy, Marie Claire, "How to Watch 'Nomadland,' Frances McDormand's Contemplative New Movie," 19 Feb. 2021 For the nine editors, photo editors and reporters who make up the small but resourceful Travel department, our job had been to develop articles, photography and digital features to awe and delight, inspire and transport. New York Times, "52 Places You Cherish," 7 Jan. 2021 Similarly to awe-inspiring women’s conferences, co-branded endeavors by friends market a sense of community, while setting hard-to-follow standards. Flora Tsapovsky, Wired, "From Podcasts to Zoom Workshops, Friendship Is Big Business," 24 Nov. 2020 Even Woods, the defending Masters champ, expressed something akin to awe toward DeChambeau’s weight gain and game change. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, "Bryson DeChambeau pauses in his conquest of golf, but is still likely to be a Masters factor," 12 Nov. 2020 Ceremonies for visiting ambassadors at the imperial court were designed to awe. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, "The Future of Chinese Power," 5 Oct. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of awe

Noun

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Verb

1597, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for awe

Noun

Middle English aw, awe, ahe "terror, dread, extreme reverence, veneration, something to be feared, danger," borrowed from Old Norse agi, accusative aga "terror, uproar," n-stem derivative from a Germanic base *ag- seen in the s-stem noun *agaz (whence Old English ege "fear, terror" [with assimilation to i-stems], Gothic agis) and a verbal derivative *agisōjan- (whence Old High German egisōn "to fear," Middle Dutch eisen) and a corresponding noun derivative *agisan- (whence Old English egesa, egsa "fear, terror," Old Saxon egiso, Old High German agiso, egiso); Germanic *agaz perhaps going back to Indo-European *h2egh-os, whence also Greek áchos "pain, distress"

Note: Germanic also has a verb *agan-, exemplified by the Gothic Class VI preterite-present ogan "to fear" (from a presumed reduplicated perfect) and the adjective unagands "fearless"; the verb has been compared with Old Irish adˑágadar "(s/he) frightens," and (despite the semantic gap) Greek áchnymai, achnýnai "to grieve, lament." See also etymology and note at ail entry 1.

Verb

Middle English awen "to terrify, overawe," derivative of awe "terror, awe entry 1"

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Time Traveler for awe

Time Traveler

The first known use of awe was in the 12th century

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Statistics for awe

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Awe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/awe. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on awe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for awe

Nglish: Translation of awe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of awe for Arabic Speakers

Comments on awe

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