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
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.

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The New Orleans Pelicans rookie star caught several highlight-reel alley-oops that left the crowd in awe shortly before halftime. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Zion Williamson leaves backboard tilted with thunderous dunks at NBA Rising Star Challenge," 15 Feb. 2020 Spike Lee, also in the wings before presenting, is staring at her, wordlessly, as if in awe. Los Angeles Times, "Oscars 2020: The backstage report on what you didn’t see on TV," 9 Feb. 2020 During training camp with his boyhood team, Toscano-Anderson’s family teased him for being in awe while peppering Stephen Curry with questions and soaking up all of Draymond Green’s advice. Rusty Simmons, SFChronicle.com, "Oakland’s Juan Toscano-Anderson wants to be more than Warriors’ feel-good story," 7 Feb. 2020 Like the Zen monk whose brief response indicates an eternal truth, Steve’s answers often left me in awe. Anchorage Daily News, "A happy hunter’s photo on social media doesn’t always show the entire picture," 1 Feb. 2020 In an ending too good to be scripted, Bryant went out with a electrifying performance, scoring 60 points en route to victory as Kanye West, Jay Z, Adam Levine, the Weeknd, and others looked on in awe. Derek Lawrence, EW.com, "In a city full of stars, Kobe Bryant often shined brightest," 28 Jan. 2020 Helen’s family and the medical team watched in awe as the pale pink solution of cells flowed in through her left subclavian vein. New York Times, "At 16, She’s a Pioneer in the Fight to Cure Sickle Cell Disease," 11 Jan. 2020 Petit watched in awe as the ants doggedly excavated the urine stains, expecting them to eventually move on. Jake Buehler, Science | AAAS, "It’s ‘nature’s sports drink’: Ants live off urine on dry Australian island," 26 Dec. 2019 This story about pimple patches combines several of my personal obsessions and locates it within a larger market/consumer phenomenon so marvelously, I’m left grinning in awe (and a little healthy envy, let’s be frank). Longreads, "Longreads Best of 2019: Business Writing," 18 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The star first awed fans with her rap talent during her 2016 Carpool Karaoke segment with James Corden and even received a response from Minaj herself. Helen Murphy, PEOPLE.com, "Nicki Minaj Says She’s Releasing a New Song with Adele One Month After Saying She’s Retiring," 16 Oct. 2019 April 13, 2016, was a day awaited by many fans with hushed and awed anticipation. Jeva Lange, TheWeek, "Kobe Bryant's other great gift was storytelling," 27 Jan. 2020 That Herman might be awed by Whittingham’s longevity is understandable. Greg Luca, ExpressNews.com, "Texas’ Tom Herman, Utah’s Kyle Whittingham look ahead to Alamo Bowl clash," 12 Dec. 2019 Watching them interact, I was awed by their ferocity. Peter Prengaman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘I’ve got one!’ Hunting neon scorpions in the Arizona desert," 19 Sep. 2019 On opening day, Gartel was awed by the magnitude of the final project. Leora Arnowitz, USA TODAY, "You can now stay in a giant guitar-shaped hotel that you have to see to believe," 25 Oct. 2019 Matthews followed her set and admitted he was awed by sharing the same stage with her. Thom Duffy, Billboard, "Why Bonnie Raitt Returned to Farm Aid: 'It's Activists I'm Singing For -- That's My Job'," 23 Sep. 2019 Crichton and techno-thriller fans will be entertained, if not awed. Don Oldenburg, USA TODAY, "'The Andromeda Evolution' an infectious sequel to Michael Crichton's classic best-seller," 15 Nov. 2019 Lugiati was decidedly awed by his young guest’s skill. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Rare Portrait of Teenage Mozart Heads to Auction," 15 Nov. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of awe

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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"

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Time Traveler for awe

Time Traveler

The first known use of awe was in the 13th century

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Statistics for awe

Last Updated

27 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Awe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/awe. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for awe

awe

noun
How to pronounce awe (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on awe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for awe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with awe

Spanish Central: Translation of awe

Nglish: Translation of awe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of awe for Arabic Speakers

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