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From awe +‎ -some; compare Old English eġeful (fearful; inspiring awe).



awesome (comparative more awesome or awesomer, superlative most awesome or awesomest)

  1. (dated) Causing awe or terror; inspiring wonder or excitement. [from 1590–1600.]
    Synonyms: awe-inspiring; see also Thesaurus:awesome
    The waterfall in the middle of the rainforest was an awesome sight.
    The tsunami was awesome in its destructive power.
  2. (colloquial, Canada, US, Australia) Excellent, exciting, remarkable.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:excellent
    That was awesome!
    Awesome, dude!
    • 1982, Cameron Crowe, Fast Times at Ridgemont High[2], spoken by Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn):
      Awesome! Totally awesome! All right, Hamilton!

Usage notes

The oldest meaning of awesome is of “something which inspires awe”, but the word is now also a common slang expression. It was originally so used in the United States, where it had featured strikingly in the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora!, as used by Japan's Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto to describe the "awesome" industrial potential of the United States. Consequently, as the word popularly became an expression for anything superb, in its original meaning it has tended to be replaced by the related word, awe-inspiring.

The comparative and superlative forms awesomer and awesomest are generally regarded as nonstandard.


Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


awesome (uncountable)

  1. (uncountable, slang) Short for awesomeness: the quality, state, or essence of being awesome.
    Synonym: (slang) awesome sauce
    Antonyms: (slang) fail, (vulgar) shit, (slang) weaksauce
    pure awesome
    made of awesome
    • 2011, Gwen Hayes, Let Me Call You Sweetheart, Samhain Publishing, Ltd., published 2011, →ISBN, page 6:
      Plus, her patent leather boots were made of awesome. They made her legs look longer and leaner.
    • 2011, Kevin Seccia, Punching Tom Hanks: Dropkicking Gorillas and Pummeling Zombified Ex-Presidents—A Guide to Beating Up Anything, St. Martin's Press, published 2011, →ISBN, page 189:
      Swayze, of course, is the being of pure awesome who has by now conquered all of Heaven.
    • 2013, Carrie Jones, Captivate, Bloomsbury, published 2010, →ISBN, page 150:
      “Your grandmother,” he mumbles into my hair as we cuddle on the couch, “is made of awesome.”
  2. (countable, informal) A person who is awesome.
    • 2012, Qamrul Khanson, Psychological Healing: An Islamic Thought of Intellectual Fitness, page 123:
      When an awesome is dreadful and making even the living of a common person miserable then someone from the community must stand up to resist the dreadful and check the excesses.
    • 2019, Yvonne Lindsay, Jessica Lemmon, Katherine Garbera, Harlequin Desire October 2019:
      “Or as I like to think of it, the wusses versus the awesomes.”

Further reading