phe·​nom·​e·​nal fi-ˈnä-mə-nᵊl How to pronounce phenomenal (audio)
: relating to or being a phenomenon: such as
: known through the senses rather than through thought or intuition
: concerned with phenomena rather than with hypotheses
phenomenally adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for phenomenal

material, physical, corporeal, phenomenal, sensible, objective mean of or belonging to actuality.

material implies formation out of tangible matter; used in contrast with spiritual or ideal it may connote the mundane, crass, or grasping.

material values

physical applies to what is perceived directly by the senses and may contrast with mental, spiritual, or imaginary.

the physical benefits of exercise

corporeal implies having the tangible qualities of a body such as shape, size, or resistance to force.

artists have portrayed angels as corporeal beings

phenomenal applies to what is known or perceived through the senses rather than by intuition or rational deduction.

scientists concerned with the phenomenal world

sensible stresses the capability of readily or forcibly impressing the senses.

the earth's rotation is not sensible to us

objective may stress material or independent existence apart from a subject perceiving it.

no objective evidence of damage

Examples of phenomenal in a Sentence

The catch soared year after year, reaching a peak of 1.6 billion pounds in 1956. But not even the fish's phenomenal fecundity could sustain them under this industrial onslaught. Bruce Franklin, Mother Jones, March & April 2006
The region's two main communities are Camden, with its very old money and … five-star restaurants and phenomenal B&Bs, and Rockland, a serious old fishing town that hosts the Festival every summer in historic Harbor Park, right along the water. David Foster Wallace, Gourmet, August 2004
Physical prowess aside, the concentration required on the beam is phenomenal. Jack McCallum, Sports Illustrated, 18 Oct. 2000
Given his phenomenal poll numbers in a race he has not yet officially entered … Julia Reed, Vogue, February 1999
the phenomenal growth that the suburb has experienced over the last decade the phenomenal ability to remember the names of thousands of people See More
Recent Examples on the Web Chef Grant Achatz is best known for his outlandish dishes that marry creativity with phenomenal flavor. Meena Thiruvengadam, Travel + Leisure, 21 Feb. 2024 Then, head to Ella & Ollie's for phenomenal Lowcountry seafood dishes. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 20 Feb. 2024 David Tennant and Olivia Colman are both absolutely phenomenal as detectives Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller respectively. Erik Kain, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 Plus, Yellowjackets has a phenomenal cast that includes Christina Ricci, Melanie Lynskey and Juliette Lewis. Keith Langston, Peoplemag, 19 Feb. 2024 After a phenomenal make-it-or-break-it 2023 campaign with the Cubs, many believed Bellinger would be back in Cubbie blue in 2024. Jon Hoefling, USA TODAY, 19 Feb. 2024 Musk’s lawyers countered that the board had followed appropriate procedures and that Musk’s pay only ended up being so lavish because his phenomenal leadership propelled the company’s stock to improbable heights — resulting in huge returns for shareholders. Rachel Lerman, Washington Post, 19 Feb. 2024 But even someone with her phenomenal résumé can have moments of self-doubt. Alex Apatoff, Peoplemag, 9 Feb. 2024 Club Shy sees the English upstart diving headfirst into the world of electronic music, delivering a phenomenal tribute to East London’s club scene. Stephen Daw, Billboard, 9 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History


see phenomenon

First Known Use

1825, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phenomenal was in 1825

Dictionary Entries Near phenomenal

Cite this Entry

“Phenomenal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


phe·​nom·​e·​nal fi-ˈnäm-ən-ᵊl How to pronounce phenomenal (audio)
: of, relating to, or being a phenomenon
: very remarkable : extraordinary
a phenomenal memory
phenomenally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on phenomenal

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