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.]
    The waterfall in the middle of the rainforest was an awesome sight.
    The tsunami was awesome in its destructive power.
    • 1887, H. Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure[1]:
      And now it appeared that there was a mysterious Queen clothed by rumour with dread and wonderful attributes, and commonly known by the impersonal, but, to my mind, rather awesome title of She.
  2. (colloquial) Excellent, exciting, remarkable.
    That was awesome!
    Awesome, dude!

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

Related terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


awesome (uncountable)

  1. (slang) Short for awesomeness: the quality, state, or essence of being awesome.
    • 2011, Gwen Hayes, Let Me Call You Sweetheart, Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (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 (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 (2010), →ISBN, page 150:
      “Your grandmother,” he mumbles into my hair as we cuddle on the couch, “is made of awesome.”
    pure awesome; made of awesome



Further reading