awe

noun
\ ˈȯ How to pronounce awe (audio) \

Definition of awe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime stood in awe of the king regard nature's wonders with awe
2 archaic
a : dread, terror
b : the power to inspire dread

awe

verb
awed; awing

Definition of awe (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to inspire or fill with awe We were awed by the beauty of the mountains.

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of awe in a Sentence

Noun Clem gasped in awe. Inches from the shelf stood a column of scrimshaw the likes of which he'd never seen. — Al Michaud, Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 2005 I expected to be impressed by Machu Picchu, but now that we're here, standing in the clouds atop the world, I'm more than impressed—I'm in awe. Machu Picchu is actually better than photographs suggest, more a timeless way station than archaeological ruin. — Patrick J. Kelly, Traveler, May/June 2005 Organs began to appear in American churches early in the eighteenth century. Their glorious tones promised to harmonize cacophonous congregational singers and to inspire worshippers with a reverential sense of awe, bestirring them to moral improvement. — Jonathan D. Sarna, American Judaism, 2004 It was a sight that filled me with awe and reverence. a person who inspires feelings of awe in others Verb We stood at an impasse. If she thought she was getting my bags, she was nuts. I was still awed that they had actually made it through baggage claim in one piece; there was no way I was parting with them now. — Helene Cooper, The House At Sugar Beach, 2008 Most relative neophytes are so awed by having been accepted into the priesthood of specialty medicine and so reluctant to cause themselves trouble in the institutions in which they will work for the coming decades that they would be hesitant to risk offending their seniors. — Sherwin B. Nuland, New York Review of Books, 18 July 2002 But even non-birders cannot help but be awed by the significance of the habitat. All around us creatures dart and dive; birds attracted by fish and water, birds drawn by seeds and chaff. Birds with silly names: loons, boobies, cuckoos, goatsuckers. — Clara Jeffery, Harper's, November 2002 Her style both awes and perplexes me.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Or stand in awe of our rundown of all the historically accurate royal cars that appeared in season four of the Netflix series The Crown. Annie White, Car and Driver, "This Week in Cars: the Hummer SUV, an EV Silverado, and the CLS53 Is Dead," 9 Apr. 2021 Guests are always in awe of the picturesque setting that surrounds the resort. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "The Best Room At ... Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort," 4 Apr. 2021 The Salvation Army, which has been giving the hats to hundreds of individuals within the Twin Cities, is in awe of his efforts. Daniella Genovese, Fox News, "WWII vet knits wool hats during COVID-19 pandemic for Salvation Army," 31 Mar. 2021 On Friday, Lee Westwood was shocked but also in awe of Garcia after the Spaniard hit a hole-in-one to win their playoff against the Briton to reach the WGC Matchplay knockout rounds. John Sinnott, CNN, "Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia hit holes-in-one at the WGC Matchplay," 27 Mar. 2021 Dean Kremer, who started the game for the Orioles, said the team was in awe of the drive, which went against the wind that was blowing out to right field and still nearly left LECOM Park entirely. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles observations on Trey Mancini’s first home run of the spring, hot-hitting Austin Hays, and more," 19 Mar. 2021 In the 1950s and 1960s, journalists frequently stood in awe of the Soviet Union’s ability to organize for the production of steel and heavy equipment. Milton Ezrati, Forbes, "China’s Apparent Strengths Are Really Weaknesses," 18 Mar. 2021 Slightly in awe of their subject, the filmmakers, David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg, portray Brand as that rare kind of tech prophet, a man who never looks back. Jason Kehe, Wired, "The Backward-Looking Futurism of Stewart Brand," 17 Mar. 2021 The Tar Heels, unranked and hardly in awe of their surroundings, outscored favored Florida 57-42 during that stretch. Matthew Glenesk, The Indianapolis Star, "There have been 97 NCAA tournament games in Indianapolis since 1940. We rank them all.," 13 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In any other discipline or demographic, these types of growth metrics would shock and awe. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "1955 Capital’s Andrew Chung on the Atlanta shootings, anti-Asian racism, and a very hard phone call to his father," 23 Mar. 2021 Musician Doja Cat, who's nominated for three individual Grammy Awards this year, stepped onto tonight's red carpet ready to shock and awe. Megan Decker, refinery29.com, "Doja Cat Debuted A Choppy Mullet At The Grammys," 15 Mar. 2021 The latest eruptions of Europe's largest volcano awe even those who study them: For over a week, Sicily's Mount Etna has been belching lava, ash and volcanic rocks on a regular basis. Matt Delong, Star Tribune, "TALKERS022321," 23 Feb. 2021 Shot with a troupe of non-actors playing versions of themselves and awe-inspiring cinematography, Nomadland quietly observes the harsh reality that undermines any idea of the American dream. Zoe Guy, Marie Claire, "How to Watch 'Nomadland,' Frances McDormand's Contemplative New Movie," 19 Feb. 2021 For the nine editors, photo editors and reporters who make up the small but resourceful Travel department, our job had been to develop articles, photography and digital features to awe and delight, inspire and transport. New York Times, "52 Places You Cherish," 7 Jan. 2021 Similarly to awe-inspiring women’s conferences, co-branded endeavors by friends market a sense of community, while setting hard-to-follow standards. Flora Tsapovsky, Wired, "From Podcasts to Zoom Workshops, Friendship Is Big Business," 24 Nov. 2020 Even Woods, the defending Masters champ, expressed something akin to awe toward DeChambeau’s weight gain and game change. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, "Bryson DeChambeau pauses in his conquest of golf, but is still likely to be a Masters factor," 12 Nov. 2020 Ceremonies for visiting ambassadors at the imperial court were designed to awe. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, "The Future of Chinese Power," 5 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'awe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of awe

Noun

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Verb

1597, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for awe

Noun

Middle English aw, awe, ahe "terror, dread, extreme reverence, veneration, something to be feared, danger," borrowed from Old Norse agi, accusative aga "terror, uproar," n-stem derivative from a Germanic base *ag- seen in the s-stem noun *agaz (whence Old English ege "fear, terror" [with assimilation to i-stems], Gothic agis) and a verbal derivative *agisōjan- (whence Old High German egisōn "to fear," Middle Dutch eisen) and a corresponding noun derivative *agisan- (whence Old English egesa, egsa "fear, terror," Old Saxon egiso, Old High German agiso, egiso); Germanic *agaz perhaps going back to Indo-European *h2egh-os, whence also Greek áchos "pain, distress"

Note: Germanic also has a verb *agan-, exemplified by the Gothic Class VI preterite-present ogan "to fear" (from a presumed reduplicated perfect) and the adjective unagands "fearless"; the verb has been compared with Old Irish adˑágadar "(s/he) frightens," and (despite the semantic gap) Greek áchnymai, achnýnai "to grieve, lament." See also etymology and note at ail entry 1.

Verb

Middle English awen "to terrify, overawe," derivative of awe "terror, awe entry 1"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about awe

Time Traveler for awe

Time Traveler

The first known use of awe was in the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for awe

Last Updated

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Awe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/awe. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for awe

awe

noun

English Language Learners Definition of awe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a strong feeling of fear or respect and also wonder

awe

verb

English Language Learners Definition of awe (Entry 2 of 2)

: to fill (someone) with awe

awe

noun
\ ˈȯ How to pronounce awe (audio) \

Kids Definition of awe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a feeling of mixed fear, respect, and wonder

awe

verb
awed; awing

Kids Definition of awe (Entry 2 of 2)

: to fill with respect, fear, and wonder

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on awe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for awe

Nglish: Translation of awe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of awe for Arabic Speakers

Comments on awe

What made you want to look up awe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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