awe·​some ˈȯ-səm How to pronounce awesome (audio)
: inspiring awe
an awesome task/responsibility
a place of awesome beauty
informal : terrific, extraordinary
had an awesome time at the concert
: expressive of awe
awesome tribute

Did you know?

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.”

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The original Countach is one of those cars that is awesome both despite and because of its flaws. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 28 Nov. 2022 Gamified reading is awesome and genuinely encourages me to keep going. Louryn Strampe, WIRED, 21 Nov. 2022 Evan Herbig was awesome, completing 14 of 18 passes for 131 yards and also rushing for 105 yards and three touchdowns. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 18 Nov. 2022 To be able to have that opportunity to take off and pick the brains of the older guys was awesome. Shakeia Taylor, Chicago Tribune, 14 Nov. 2022 And what's really awesome about all the ideas in this gallery, there is something for every skill level. Charlyne Mattox, Country Living, 13 Nov. 2022 He was assigned to Desmond Bane (and man, Bane is awesome), and did a really good job of getting into him and making his life difficult. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Oct. 2022 Underneath his challenging behavior, my kid is awesome. Melissa Petro, Time, 3 Nov. 2022 The drive is awesome, and the area is made for exploring. Jeff And Patti Kinzbach, cleveland, 2 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of awesome was in 1578

Dictionary Entries Near awesome

Cite this Entry

“Awesome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


awe·​some ˈȯ-səm How to pronounce awesome (audio)
: showing awe
: causing a feeling of awe
: terrific sense 2, extraordinary
had an awesome time
awesomely adverb
awesomeness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on awesome

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.