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 Think a chunk of the Browns' issues Sunday was that Baltimore is awesome, and Cincinnati isn’t Baltimore. Dan Labbe, cleveland, "Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Predictions for Thursday Night Football," 17 Sep. 2020 The snarl—even at no more than 4500 of the available 8500 rpm—is awesome. Giancarlo Perini, Car and Driver, "1989 Cizeta Moroder V16T Dares to Be Different," 14 Sep. 2020 It’s going to be awesome to have a player of his stature. Khobi Price,, "Blaise Matuidi available for Inter Miami’s game versus Nashville SC after joining team for practice this week," 4 Sep. 2020 And our city police and sheriff and fire departments are awesome. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Destroyed Kenosha store's owners refused to be part of Trump 'circus,' president met with old owner instead," 2 Sep. 2020 That has been awesome to get food out into the community. Washington Post, "Ivanka Trump shared a video of her meeting a homeless D.C. woman. That woman says she’s still waiting for her to keep a promise.," 27 Aug. 2020 Corporate has always been good and was frequently awesome. Darren Franich,, "Farewell to Corporate, a great show that saw the world too clearly," 26 Aug. 2020 So far the response has been awesome, people seem super jacked about it. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "David Henrie Made a Feel-Good Movie For 'The Quarantine Kids' With Bestie Selena Gomez's Help," 25 Aug. 2020 The color, fabric, style, and finishing is awesome. Marissa Miller, USA TODAY, "10 top-rated jackets and tops that are perfect for fall," 24 Aug. 2020

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

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for awesome

awe entry 1 + -some entry 1

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Learn More about awesome

Time Traveler for awesome

Time Traveler

The first known use of awesome was in 1578

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Statistics for awesome

Last Updated

22 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Awesome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2020.

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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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Comments on awesome

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