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

Example Sentences

I had a fabulous time. The weather has been fabulous. He is making fabulous amounts of money.
Recent Examples on the Web And Lizzo came through, as evidenced in a TikTok published to Marie’s 300,000-plus followers on Tuesday, albeit with a slightly different but similarly fabulous gown. Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2022 Fierce and fabulous, these embossed, metallic knee-highs are giving main character energy. Sam Peters, ELLE, 26 Oct. 2022 Ted Gibson and Kim Vō are big names in celebrity hairdressing and the show goes behind the scenes at high-profile hair salons — Starring Ted Gibson and Kim Vō Salon — catering to the famous and fabulous. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 14 Oct. 2022 Let this be the start of a fresh, relevant, and fabulous partnership. Alice Newbold, Vogue, 10 Oct. 2022 Chef Sean O’Toole‘s food is fabulous and pairs well with our wines. Sunset Staff, Sunset Magazine, 28 Sep. 2022 Bailey is not ready to return to work, and her braids are still fabulous. Lincee Ray, EW.com, 14 Oct. 2022 Mariah Carey is soaking up her recent achievements in the most fabulous way possible. Bianca Brutus, PEOPLE.com, 13 Apr. 2022 To scale this Matterhorn, Villaseñor has enlisted stylist George Cortina, whose taste is infamously fabulous if meticulous; he is known to drop mention of a single frame from an obscure Italian film as the reference for a photoshoot. Rachel Tashjian, Harper's BAZAAR, 24 Sep. 2022 See More

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

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 27 Nov. 2022.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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