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

But also, just being at the LOVELOUD Festival and seeing these families come together and embrace their youth, or receiving countless letters from people who have been impacted by it in different ways, is awesome. Gab Ginsberg, Billboard, "Dan Reynolds and Tegan Quin On How 2019's LOVELOUD Festival Powered by AT&T Will Be Bigger Than Ever," 1 July 2019 But that’s awesome — there’s not a whole lot of female coders. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "Trevor Bauer, Baseball’s Imperfect Evangelist," 21 June 2019 Congratulations to the awesome #LNSM writing staff on earning another #Emmy nomination! Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: Late-Night Hosts Celebrate and Poke Fun at Nominations," 12 July 2018 Seeing how hard these volunteers work and getting to know the volunteers and getting to hear their stories were awesome. James Owczarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Watt brothers talk Culver's, golf in Pewaukee, and sharing time together at AmFam Championship," 21 June 2019 Possibly, Mako is awesome but the theming and other special features is no comparison. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Muggles wait 10 hours, through rain storms, to ride new Hagrid roller coaster at Wizarding World of Harry Potter," 14 June 2019 There’s no shortage of people to help Charlie — a stay-at-home dad — with the awesome and inherently chaotic responsibility of caring for three babies. Kate Thayer,, "Finding hope after tragedy: Wife's stroke left dad with newborn triplets a year ago," 12 June 2019 There is no question then that dolphins are awesome and capable and that our adoration of these creatures is merited. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Our love of dolphins is not always good for them," 8 June 2019 What seems awesome and nutritive on the page can seem hollow and unengaging when spoken. Jesse Green, New York Times, "In Chicago’s Vibrant Theater Scene, Two Tales of One City," 7 June 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

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for awesome

The first known use of awesome was in 1598

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More Definitions for awesome



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).


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