fabulous

adjective

fab·​u·​lous ˈfa-byə-ləs How to pronounce fabulous (audio)
1
a
: resembling or suggesting a fable : of an incredible, astonishing, or exaggerated nature
fabulous wealth
b
: wonderful, marvelous
had a fabulous time
a fabulous view from the summit
2
: told in or based on fable
fabulous dragons
fabulously adverb
fabulousness noun

Did you know?

The Meaning of Fabulous Before It Meant ‘Great’

Most of us use the word fabulous in an entirely positive sense, with the meaning “wonderful” or “marvelous.” This is an entirely acceptable way to use the word, but it is by no means the sense that fabulous had when it entered the English language: its original meaning was “characteristic of fables” (a fable is “an invented tale”). In that sense, "the fabulous legends of Arabia" refers to legends based upon fable rather than notably excellent legends. The semantic drift that fabulous has undergone is not at all uncommon in language, and we see comparable developments in words of similar in meaning. Fantastic previously meant “of, belonging to, or constituting fantasy”; awesome initially had the sole meaning “expressive of awe” (and many people wish that it still did); and terrific meant “terrible, terrifying” long before it meant “splendid.”

Choose the Right Synonym for fabulous

fictitious, fabulous, legendary, mythical, apocryphal mean having the nature of something imagined or invented.

fictitious implies fabrication and suggests artificiality or contrivance more than deliberate falsification or deception.

fictitious characters

fabulous stresses the marvelous or incredible character of something without necessarily implying impossibility or actual nonexistence.

a land of fabulous riches

legendary suggests the elaboration of invented details and distortion of historical facts produced by popular tradition.

the legendary exploits of Davy Crockett

mythical implies a purely fanciful explanation of facts or the creation of beings and events out of the imagination.

mythical creatures

apocryphal implies an unknown or dubious source or origin or may imply that the thing itself is dubious or inaccurate.

a book that repeats many apocryphal stories

Examples of fabulous in a Sentence

I had a fabulous time. The weather has been fabulous. He is making fabulous amounts of money.
Recent Examples on the Web The celebrity contingent had all but praises for the designers’ fabulous body of work. Tiziana Cardini, Vogue, 7 Apr. 2024 At least that's the evidence from Teen PEOPLE, with cover stars like Mandy Moore, Pink, and even Kirsten Dunst flaunting their fabulous short hairstyles like true trendsetters. Jordan Greene, Peoplemag, 5 Apr. 2024 On the rerun, Ripa and Consuelos complimented Blige on a photo of her looking fabulous in her bathing suit while posing on a yacht, Page Six reported. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, 3 Apr. 2024 The hotel's fabulous water park centers on a 7,590-square-foot family pool with an underwater audio system and dishes up a lazy river, The Drop (a twisting water slide), splash zone, and regularly scheduled events like dive-in movies, held every Saturday evening. Terry Ward, Travel + Leisure, 1 Apr. 2024 It’s called il rotolo di pasta, a fabulous dish conceived by famed cookbook author Marcella Hazan. Irv Erdos, San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 Mar. 2024 Martin Puryear and Andrea Zittel are fabulous designers, too. Evan Moffitt, New York Times, 28 Mar. 2024 Don’t leave without enjoying a scalp-tingling treatment in the property’s fabulous new hair spa. Siobhan Reid, Vogue, 27 Mar. 2024 Despite its fabulous density of wildlife, Amboseli faces threats. Paul Brady, Travel + Leisure, 23 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fabulous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English fabulous, fabulose "legendary, mythical," borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French fabuleux, borrowed from Latin fābulōsus "celebrated in legend, resembling an invented story, mythical," from fābula "talk, account, fable entry 1" + -ōsus -ous

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of fabulous was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near fabulous

Cite this Entry

“Fabulous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fabulous. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

fabulous

adjective
fab·​u·​lous ˈfab-yə-ləs How to pronounce fabulous (audio)
1
a
: resembling a fable especially in being marvelous or beyond belief
fabulous wealth
b
: very good : marvelous
had a fabulous time
2
: told in or based on fable
fabulous animals
fabulously adverb
fabulousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on fabulous

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