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
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 Fortunately, some of California’s most awe-inspiring places are isolated — and home to an impressive array of wildlife. Los Angeles Times, "Tule elk, kit fox and horned owls, oh my! Three places to spot animals in California," 12 Nov. 2020 Over the years, Target has developed one of the most awe-inspiring beauty sections of any big-box retailer. Marci Robin, Allure, "Mini Ulta Beauty Stores Are Coming to Target in 2021," 10 Nov. 2020 There is perhaps no natural sight as awe-inspiring as the Northern Lights. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "11 Calming Videos of Cute Animals, Natural Landscapes, and Other Relaxing Scenes You Need Right Now," 3 Nov. 2020 The shock and awe of Microsoft's design language is probably enough to make some people fall in love with the device and ignore all its other faults. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Surface Duo review—Orphaned Windows hardware makes a poor Android device," 16 Oct. 2020 From his first day in office, Donald Trump has been the shock-and-awe president. NBC News, "Meet the Press - October 11, 2020," 11 Oct. 2020 Merely having a child is not exciting enough for the internet; the child needs to come into the world surrounded by shock and awe. Jenna Drenten, The Conversation, "Why gender reveals have spiraled out of control," 14 Sep. 2020 But even that is rooted in the shock and awe of prominent cases. Greg Weiner, National Review, "Cancel Culture Is Not the Problem; Conformity Culture Is," 10 Sep. 2020 Asus unrolled nine ZenBook and Expertbook laptops Wednesday, as part of Intel's shock-and-awe wave of products with Intel's 11th-gen Tiger Lake CPUs. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Asus unveils ZenBook and Expertbook laptops with OLED, Intel's latest CPUs and more," 2 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Some of the proudest moments of my professional career have been finding those pieces that can excite, educate and awe our audiences. Lonnie G. Bunch Iii, Smithsonian Magazine, "Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch on How the Institution Builds Its Collections," 22 Sep. 2020 LaVette's travails in the music business have been many and extensive, her talents mostly hidden from wider view for decades until a resurgence this century that seems to have brought her as much fulfillment as joy and awe to her listeners. Pablo Gorondi, Star Tribune, "Review: Bettye LaVette's 'Blackbirds' celebrates Black women," 27 Aug. 2020 But Kendrick Lamar doesn’t need shock value to awe you. cleveland, "50 greatest rap verses since 2010," 8 June 2020 Then Apatow cuts to the end result of being really good at goofing around: a SoCal palace that would have awed the Sun King. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Judd Apatow’s Comedy Masterpiece," 1 May 2020 If you were awed by the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels' flight demonstration earlier last week, this flight of vintage warplanes will be another high-flying spectacle. Alison Medley, Houston Chronicle, "Don't miss today's flyover! Here's the path, timeline to see Warbirds on Sunday," 10 May 2020 Most people who worked with Mr. Douglas were either awed by his self-confident intensity or put off by it. Robert Berkvist, New York Times, "Kirk Douglas: Last of Hollywood’s Golden Age," 12 Feb. 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

15 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Awe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/awe. Accessed 23 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for awe

awe

noun
How to pronounce awe (audio)

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

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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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