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mon·​strous ˈmän(t)-strəs How to pronounce monstrous (audio)
: having extraordinary often overwhelming size : gigantic
stuffing a monstrous sandwich down his throatMike Flaherty
a monstrous skyscraper
: extraordinarily ugly or vicious : horrible
a monstrous crime
monstrous mayhem
: shockingly wrong or ridiculous
the legend assumed monstrous proportionsLouis Untermeyer
a monstrous miscalculation
: deviating greatly from the natural form or character : abnormal
a monstrous melon
: very great
used as an intensive
a monstrous hammering on his doorG. D. Brown
a monstrous hangover
: having the qualities or appearance of a monster
came face to face with a monstrous creatureLester David
obsolete : teeming with monsters
obsolete : strange, unnatural
monstrously adverb
monstrousness noun


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chiefly dialectal
: very, extremely
a monstrous long raftMark Twain
Choose the Right Synonym for monstrous

monstrous, prodigious, tremendous, stupendous mean extremely impressive.

monstrous implies a departure from the normal (as in size, form, or character) and often carries suggestions of deformity, ugliness, or fabulousness.

the monstrous waste of the project

prodigious suggests a marvelousness exceeding belief, usually in something felt as going far beyond a previous maximum (as of goodness, greatness, intensity, or size).

made a prodigious effort and rolled the stone aside

tremendous may imply a power to terrify or inspire awe.

the tremendous roar of the cataract

stupendous implies a power to stun or astound, usually because of size, numbers, complexity, or greatness beyond description.

a stupendous volcanic eruption

Examples of monstrous in a Sentence

Adjective It was monstrous of him to keep the truth from them all those years. a monstrous melon that was clearly not fit to eat Adverb a monstrous pretty gal, she was
Recent Examples on the Web
From there, your painting grew even more interested in the monstrous body. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, 26 Nov. 2023 Of course, wartime propaganda describing enemies as monstrous is not confined to the Middle East. Roger Cohen, New York Times, 20 Nov. 2023 Whether La Llorona is held up as a form of resistance against oppression, owning her power or reclaiming the monstrous bruja within, the narratives of the wailing woman have endured for centuries, reimagined into a radical icon. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 17 Oct. 2023 Reynolds went against the artistic conventions of the time by giving a physical, monstrous form to Shakespeare’s figure of speech. Teresa Nowakowski, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Nov. 2023 Secretary Blinken has said that what Hamas is doing with using human shields is monstrous. CBS News, 5 Nov. 2023 Cerberus: The 3 Headed Dog Born from the monstrous, multi-headed Typhon and the serpent-woman Echidna, Cerberus was among the primordial monsters predating humanity. Katie Liu, Discover Magazine, 31 Oct. 2023 His great-great-uncle Leopold II had overseen what was then called the Congo Free State as his personal fiefdom—and established a system of exploitation that was monstrous even by colonial standards. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 30 Oct. 2023 Both father and son had monstrous mutual resentments. Mikal Gilmore, Rolling Stone, 31 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6


1569, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near monstrous

Cite this Entry

“Monstrous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: unusually large : gigantic
: very ugly or vicious : horrible
: shockingly wrong or ridiculous
: very different from the usual form : abnormal
monstrously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on monstrous

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