awful

Describe something that is exceptionally bad as awful, but be careful: Saying your mom's cooking is awful may be truthful, but it's also likely to get you a frying pan upside the head.

In addition to meaning exceptionally bad, the adjective awful can also mean exceedingly large or extreme in degree. That new car costs an awful lot of money, for example. Perhaps you should think about a bus pass or bicycle instead! As an adverb, awful is used as an intensifier, meaning very. As in, "It's taking you an awful long time to finish that paper. Stop procrastinating."

Primary Meanings of awful

1.
adjadv
exceptionally bad or displeasing
used as intensifiers
2.
adj
inspiring awe or admiration or wonder
Full Definitions of awful
1

adj exceptionally bad or displeasing

“an awful voice”
Synonyms:
abominable, atrocious, dreadful, painful, terrible, unspeakable
bad
having undesirable or negative qualities

adj offensive or even (of persons) malicious

Synonyms:
nasty
dirty, filthy, lousy
vile; despicable
grotty
very unpleasant or offensive
hateful, mean
characterized by malice
unpleasant
disagreeable to the senses, to the mind, or feelings
Antonyms:
nice
pleasant or pleasing or agreeable in nature or appearance
good
agreeable or pleasing
pleasant
(of persons) having pleasing manners or behavior
pleasant
affording pleasure; being in harmony with your taste or likings
show more antonyms...

adj causing fear or dread or terror

“the awful war”
“an awful risk”
Synonyms:
dire, direful, dread, dreaded, dreadful, fearful, fearsome, frightening, horrendous, horrific, terrible
alarming
frightening because of an awareness of danger

adj extreme in degree or extent or amount or impact

Synonyms:
frightful, terrible, tremendous
extraordinary
beyond what is ordinary or usual; highly unusual or exceptional or remarkable

adv used as intensifiers

“I'm awful sorry”
Synonyms:
awfully, frightfully, terribly
2

adj inspiring awe or admiration or wonder

“"this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath"- Melville”
Synonyms:
amazing, awe-inspiring, awesome, awing
impressive
making a strong or vivid impression

adj inspired by a feeling of fearful wonderment or reverence

awful worshippers with bowed heads”
Synonyms:
awed
reverent
feeling or showing profound respect or veneration

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