awe·​some | \ ˈȯ-səm How to pronounce awesome (audio) \

Definition of awesome

1a : inspiring awe an awesome task/responsibility a place of awesome beauty
b informal : terrific, extraordinary had an awesome time at the concert
2 : expressive of awe awesome tribute

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Is the Word awesome Overused?

Many object to the use of awesome to describe something (such as a sandwich) that does not literally elicit feelings of awe. Yet the same people who insist that awesome should be used only of weighty subjects (Niagara Falls, man landing on the moon) will happily use the word awful in reference to something (such as a mess) that falls distinctly short of being “full of awe.” This weakened sense was once considered improper – in fact, complaints about it persisted through the early decades of the 20th century.

The change in meaning that awesome is undergoing may be more recent than that of awful, but both words are treading the same path. For evidence that such change is normal, we need look no further than awe, which originally meant “terror” and now carries the weaker sense “wonder.”

Examples of awesome in a Sentence

the awesome sight of an erupting volcano It was an awesome responsibility. We had an awesome task ahead of us. We had an awesome time at the concert. You did an awesome job on that project. The movie was totally awesome.
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Recent Examples on the Web This was an awesome event that allowed our team and OSU student-athletes across multiple sports to pour into the local youth in our community. Mikayla Pivec | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Mikayla Pivec’s Oregon State women’s basketball diary: Giving off the court, getting ready on the court for the 2019-20 season," 7 Nov. 2019 Eckhart gets to strut about in a leather flying jacket and look awesome. Mark Kennedy, Detroit Free Press, "‘Midway’ turns World War II battle into a cartoon," 7 Nov. 2019 Led by eerily awesome vocalist Arnel Pineda, founding members Neal Schon (guitar) and Ross Valory (bass), and longtimers Jonathan Cain (keyboards) and Steve Smith (drums), Journey continues to entertain with only the barest whiff of nostalgia. Ben Crandell,, "Ticket alert: Journey, the Pretenders in West Palm Beach," 1 Nov. 2019 After countless documentaries and Shark Week appearances on the Discovery Channel, in 2019, Fallows is forcing himself to talk about these awesome sharks in the past tense. David Mckenzie And Brent Swails, CNN, "Has the great white shark really vanished from Cape Town's waters?," 28 Oct. 2019 One of the findings indicates that self-sufficiency has an awesome side effect: stress relief. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Rats Can Drive Now," 24 Oct. 2019 Who knows, the pivot to unit economics might even become an awesome KPI. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "Why Scooter Company Bird Is Worth $2.5 Billion—Data Sheet," 4 Oct. 2019 The food was awesome, and the people are friendly, said the note, written on a loose napkin. al, "Alabama restaurant has no prices, just a box for donations," 16 Sep. 2019 The food was awesome, and the people are friendly, said the note, written on a loose napkin. Kellie B. Gormly, Washington Post, "Alabama restaurant has no prices on the menu, just a box for diners to drop in any amount they want," 16 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'awesome.' 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 awesome

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for awesome

see awe entry 1

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Statistics for awesome

Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for awesome

The first known use of awesome was in 1598

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More Definitions for awesome


How to pronounce awesome (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of awesome

: causing feelings of fear and wonder : causing feelings of awe
informal : extremely good


awe·​some | \ ˈȯ-səm How to pronounce awesome (audio) \

Kids Definition of awesome

1 : causing a feeling of respect, fear, and wonder an awesome view of the canyon He … tried not to think of the awesome task that lay ahead of him.— Louis Sachar, Holes
2 : extremely good He made an awesome catch.

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More from Merriam-Webster on awesome

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for awesome

Spanish Central: Translation of awesome

Nglish: Translation of awesome for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of awesome for Arabic Speakers

Comments on awesome

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


to engage in dissolute behavior

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