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awful Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. adjective satellite exceptionally bad or displeasing
    dreadful; atrocious; terrible; unspeakable; abominable; painful.
    • atrocious taste
    • abominable workmanship
    • an awful voice
    • dreadful manners
    • a painful performance
    • terrible handwriting
    • an unspeakable odor came sweeping into the room
  2. adjective satellite causing fear or dread or terror
    dreadful; direful; horrific; fearful; frightening; terrible; dread; dire; horrendous; dreaded; fearsome.
    • the awful war
    • an awful risk
    • dire news
    • a career or vengeance so direful that London was shocked
    • the dread presence of the headmaster
    • polio is no longer the dreaded disease it once was
    • a dreadful storm
    • a fearful howling
    • horrendous explosions shook the city
    • a terrible curse
  3. adjective offensive or even (of persons) malicious
    • in a nasty mood
    • a nasty accident
    • a nasty shock
    • a nasty smell
    • a nasty trick to pull
    • Will he say nasty things at my funeral?"- Ezra Pound
  4. adjective satellite inspired by a feeling of fearful wonderment or reverence
    • awed by the silence
    • awful worshippers with bowed heads
  5. adjective satellite extreme in degree or extent or amount or impact
    frightful; terrible; tremendous.
    • in a frightful hurry
    • spent a frightful amount of money
  6. adjective satellite inspiring awe or admiration or wonder
    awing; amazing; awe-inspiring; awesome.
    • New York is an amazing city
    • the Grand Canyon is an awe-inspiring sight
    • the awesome complexity of the universe
    • this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath"- Melville
    • Westminster Hall's awing majesty, so vast, so high, so silent
  7. adverb used as intensifiers
    terribly; frightfully; awfully.
    • terribly interesting
    • I'm awful sorry

Aw"ful adjective
  1. Oppressing with fear or horror; appalling; terrible; as, an awful scene. "The hour of Nature's awful throes." Hemans.
  2. Inspiring awe; filling with profound reverence, or with fear and admiration; fitted to inspire reverential fear; profoundly impressive.
    Heaven's awful Monarch. Milton.
  3. Struck or filled with awe; terror-stricken. Obs.
    A weak and awful reverence for antiquity. I. Watts.
  4. Worshipful; reverential; law-abiding. Obs.
    Thrust from the company of awful men. Shak.
  5. Frightful; exceedingly bad; great; -- applied intensively; as, an awful bonnet; an awful boaster. Slang Syn. -- See Frightful.

Webster 1913

"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

Writing Improvement Software
Writing Improvement Software