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

The Blooming Sheer Lip Balm is similarly awesome, according to our tests. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "Origins Launches Blooming Bold Lipstick and Sheer Lip Balm Made With Real Flowers," 28 Sep. 2018 To come out and finish like this is pretty awesome. Trevor Hass,, "Brookline, Weston capture tennis championships," 22 June 2018 The Lakers have looked good, bad, awesome and truly awful since then. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "Buy Low on LeBron James and the Lakers," 15 Feb. 2019 Rocky IV is kind of awesome, in that cheesy ’80s way, but its tone could not be more different from the more realistic tone of the Creed movies. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Creed II is no Creed. But it’s a pretty good Rocky sequel.," 21 Nov. 2018 To be able to make my pro debut at the U.S. Open is absolutely awesome,'' Hollis said. Dennis Manoloff,, "Golfer Jillian Hollis, from Rocky River, qualifies for U.S. Women's Open 2018," 14 May 2018 Andrew and friends did a awesome job and exceeded their goal by their wildest dreams! Caitlin Keating,, "9-Year-Old Boy Raises Thousands at Lemonade Stand to Help Pay for Sick Brother's Medical Bills," 29 May 2018 Ezra Klein: Host of our Strikethrough series on YouTube, which is awesome. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: Ezra Klein and Kara Swisher on the future of journalism," 12 Dec. 2018 Overall, the hardware is awesome, and Google did an amazing job building this for $150. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Google Home Hub review—Awesome hardware for Google’s nascent smart display software," 22 Oct. 2018

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

23 Apr 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).


having no equal

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