awful
I. adjective Date: 13th century 1. inspiring awe 2. filled with awe: as a. obsolete afraid, terrified b. deeply respectful or reverential 3. extremely disagreeable or objectionable <
awful food
>
4. exceedingly great — used as an intensive <
an awful lot of money
>
awfully adverbawfulness noun Usage: Many grammarians take issue with the senses of awful and awfully that do not convey the etymological connection with awe. However, senses 3 and 4 of the adjective were used in speech and casual writing by the late 18th century <
it is an awful while since you have heard from me — John Keats (letter)
>
<
there was an awful crowd — Sir Walter Scott (letter)
>
<
this is an awful thing to say to oil painters — William Blake
>
. Adverbial use of awful as an intensifier began to appear in print in the early 19th century, as did the senses of awfully corresponding to senses 3 and 4 of the adjective. Both adverbs remain in widespread use <
a sad state of affairs and awful tough on art — H. L. Mencken
>
<
the awfully rich young American — Henry James
>
<
decided to play it so awfully safe — A. M. Schlesinger b1917
>
. II. adverb Date: 1818 very, extremely <
awful tired
>

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Awful — means extremely bad, unpleasant, or terrible; also amazing, full of awe, awe inspiring, awesome Awful may also mean: * Awful (song), a 1999 single by the band Hole * Awful Orphan , a 1949 cartoon * Awful Gardner, a notorious gambler * Awful End …   Wikipedia

  • Awful — Aw ful, a. 1. Oppressing with fear or horror; appalling; terrible; as, an awful scene. The hour of Nature s awful throes. Hemans. [1913 Webster] 2. Inspiring awe; filling with profound reverence, or with fear and admiration; fitted to inspire… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • awful — 1. There are two main stages in the development of this word from its primary meaning (which goes back to the time of King Alfred) of ‘inspiring awe’. First, from about 1800 it came to mean ‘very bad’ (as in awful weather, an awful time); then… …   Modern English usage

  • Awful — «Awful» Single de Hole del álbum Celebrity Skin Formato CD, 7 Grabación 1998 Género(s) Rock alternativo , power pop …   Wikipedia Español

  • awful — [ô′fəl] adj. [ME awful, agheful: see AWE & FUL] 1. inspiring awe; highly impressive 2. causing fear; terrifying 3. dreadful; appalling 4. full of awe; reverential 5. very bad, ugly, unpleasant, etc …   English World dictionary

  • awful — ► ADJECTIVE 1) very bad or unpleasant. 2) used for emphasis: an awful lot. 3) archaic inspiring awe. DERIVATIVES awfulness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • awful — index dire, heinous, lamentable Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • awful — (adj.) c.1300, agheful worthy of respect or fear, from aghe, an earlier form of AWE (Cf. awe), + FUL (Cf. ful). Replaced O.E. egefull. Weakened sense very bad is from 1809; weakened sense of exceedingly is by 1818 …   Etymology dictionary

  • awful — *fearful, dreadful, frightful, terrible, horrible, shocking, appalling, terrific, horrific Analogous words: impressive, *moving: solemn, *serious, grave: imposing, august, majestic (see GRAND): sublime, superb, *splendid: *ominous …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • awful — [adj] very bad; terrible abominable, alarming, appalling, atrocious, deplorable, depressing, dire, disgusting, distressing, dreadful, fearful, frightful, ghastly, grody*, gross*, gruesome, grungy*, harrowing, hideous, horrendous, horrible,… …   New thesaurus

  • awful — aw|ful1 [ ɔfl ] adjective ** used for emphasizing how unpleasant someone or something is: TERRIBLE: The smell was absolutely awful. This wine tastes awful. He had the awful feeling that everyone was laughing at him. There were these awful people… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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