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From Latin tremendus (fearful, terrible), gerundive of tremō (to tremble), + -ous.



tremendous (comparative more tremendous, superlative most tremendous)

  1. Awe-inspiring; terrific.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling:
      This she spoke with so commanding an air, standing with her back to the fire, with one hand behind her, and a pinch of snuff in the other, that I question whether Thalestris, at the head of her Amazons, ever made a more tremendous figure.
  2. Notable for its size, power, or excellence.
    Van Beethoven's ninth symphony is a tremendous piece of music.
  3. Extremely large (in amount, extent, degree, etc.) or great
    There was a tremendous outpouring of support.
    • 1898, H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, London: William Heinemann, page 113:
      The tremendous tragedy in which he had been involved - it was evident he was a fugitive from Weybridge - had driven him to the very verge of his reason.


Derived terms[edit]



One of four common words ending in -dous, which are hazardous, horrendous, stupendous, and tremendous.[1]


  1. ^ The Word Circus: A Letter-perfect Book, by Richard Lederer, Dave Morice, 1998, p. 229