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 Just seeing so many of them in the orange WNBA hooded sweatshirt over the weekend was awesome. oregonlive, "Liberty rookie Sabrina Ionescu’s AP diary: Playing again," 31 July 2020 What Rangers player should have been awesome but was just ravaged by injuries? Dallas News, "#EvanHelpUs: An early Rangers prediction correction, the plight of prospect development and more," 30 July 2020 Otherwise, there are a number of awesome stores that do online sales. Parker Hall, Wired, "Everything You Need To Make Beer, Wine, Cider, and Mead," 11 July 2020 There is a totally awesome action setpiece at the end of the second hour. Darren Franich,, "Brave New World is sex and drugs and rock without soul: Review," 9 July 2020 Working with the 11 Honore team has also been such an awesome experience. Nandi Howard, Essence, "11 Honoré Drops 2nd Collection From Its Size Inclusive In House Label," 7 July 2020 OtterBox has plenty of awesome case collections that feature favorites like Star Wars, Marvel and other Disney themes too. Benjamin Levin, CNN Underscored, "Get new tech and outdoor gear with sitewide sales at Otterbox and Lifeproof," 7 July 2020 Can't think of a better argument as to why DAL should sign Griffen in FA, which would put the cherry on top of an awesome offseason. John Owning, Dallas News, "Jadeveon Clowney isn’t the free agent DE who Cowboys fans should be clamoring for," 3 July 2020 The site, which is known for its awesome auto-shipment program, rarely has sales this vast. Summer Cartwright,, "Chewy’s Huge Summer Sale Has So Many Good Deals on Pet Toys, Treats, and Food," 22 June 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

5 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Awesome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 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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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

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