audacious

adjective
au·​da·​cious | \ ȯ-ˈdā-shəs How to pronounce audacious (audio) \

Definition of audacious

1a : intrepidly daring : adventurous an audacious mountain climber
b : recklessly bold : rash an audacious maneuver
2 : contemptuous of law, religion, or decorum : insolent an audacious maverick
3 : marked by originality and verve audacious experiments

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Other Words from audacious

audaciously adverb
audaciousness noun

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Shakespeare used "audacious" seven times in his plays. That in itself wasn't exactly an act of bold originality. The word, which comes from the Latin root audac- ("bold"), had been around for decades. But the Bard was the first to use "audacious" in its "insolent" sense ("Obey, audacious traitor; kneel for grace," Henry VI Part 2), and he may have been the first to use the adverb "audaciously." "Audacious" itself was something of an innovation in the 16th century: it was one of the earliest "-acious" words in English. Subsequently, we've added lots of "-acious" adjectives to our lexicon, including "pugnacious," "loquacious," "voracious," and even, in the 19th century, "bodacious" (which is most likely a combination of "bold" and "audacious").

Examples of audacious in a Sentence

Whatever made him think his audacious fiction would sell—especially after a lifetime of literary marginalization—is a mystery, but he has certainly been vindicated. With a rush of work that he did not begin publishing until he was in his forties, he won literary fame in Europe and Latin America. — Valerie Sayers, Commonweal, 13 July 2007 This is an audacious claim, and Kramer anticipates, even encourages, the controversy it might provoke. — Gary Greenberg, Harper's, August 2005 … Morgan Pressel, the top-ranked female amateur in the country, has charted a less audacious course. A 17-year-old scrapper who gained prominence by tying for second at the U.S. Women's Open in June, Pressel is satisfied with taking on and whipping her own kind. — E. M. Swift, Sports Illustrated, 8 Aug. 2005 … he owns and operates a seductively spacious jazz club. But that's his day job, his cover. He executes his audacious midnight burglaries outside of the city, working solo, mapping out every detail so that nothing can go wrong, then returning like a phantom. — Owen Gliberman, Entertainment Weekly, 20 July 2001 They have audacious plans for the new school. This is her most audacious film so far. She made an audacious decision to quit her job.
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Recent Examples on the Web Stone followed that audacious move in 2018 by opening a tap room in Shanghai. San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Aug. 2021 Yet 17% admitted they would be impressed by such an audacious move. People Staff, PEOPLE.com, 21 June 2021 So, in an audacious move for the early 1990s, Clarke joined the boys’ team. Del Quentin Wilber Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 25 May 2021 So, in an audacious move for the early 1990s, Clarke joined the boys’ team. al, 25 May 2021 Peskov also denied that Moscow had any involvement in Belarus’ audacious move to ground the plane to capture the dissident. NBC News, 24 May 2021 Recently, the United States suffered one of the most audacious cyberattacks on the country and businesses, affecting companies like Microsoft and FireEye. Wayne Elsey, Forbes, 11 Mar. 2021 The more audacious move was to declare herself a moral progenitor, to walk with her head high so that Denzel Washington might become a man on fire and Viola Davis could learn how to get away with murder. New York Times, 29 Jan. 2021 According to an oral tradition passed down through the Rainey family, Joseph made an audacious move in 1862. Christopher Frear, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'audacious.' 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 audacious

1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for audacious

borrowed from Middle French audacieux, from audace "daring, recklessness" (borrowed from Latin audācia, from audāc-, audāx "daring, bold, excessively daring, reckless" + -ia -ia entry 1) + -ieux (-ious); audāx from audēre "to intend, dare, venture" (verbal derivative of avidus "ardent, eager, greedy") + -āc-, deverbal suffix denoting habitual or successful performance (probably going back to Indo-European *-eh2, noun ending + *-k-, suffixal formative) — more at avid

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The first known use of audacious was in 1550

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Last Updated

6 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Audacious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/audacious. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for audacious

audacious

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of audacious

: very confident and daring : very bold and surprising or shocking

audacious

adjective
au·​da·​cious | \ ȯ-ˈdā-shəs How to pronounce audacious (audio) \

Kids Definition of audacious

1 : very bold and daring : fearless an audacious scheme
2 : disrespectful of authority : insolent an audacious radio personality

Other Words from audacious

audaciously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on audacious

Nglish: Translation of audacious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of audacious for Arabic Speakers

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