- The definition of awful is someone or something that is very displeasing or unpleasant to you.
If during a trip you suffered through sunburn, poison ivy, and the car broke down, that would be an example of an awful trip.
- Awful is defined as very much so or extremely.
If someone is really sick that is an example of someone being awful sick.
- inspiring awe; highly impressive
- causing fear; terrifying
- dreadful; appalling
- full of awe; reverential
- very bad, ugly, unpleasant, etc.: an awful joke
- Informal great: an awful lot of laughing
Origin of awfulMiddle English awful, agheful: see awe and -ful
- Extremely bad or unpleasant; terrible: had an awful day at the office.
- Commanding awe: “this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath” ( Herman Melville )
- Filled with awe, especially:a. Filled with or displaying great reverence.b. Obsolete Afraid.
- Formidable in nature or extent: an awful burden; an awful risk.
Origin of awfulMiddle English aweful awe-inspiring blend of awe awe ; see awe . and ayfull awful ( from Old English egefull ) ( ege dread ) ( -full -ful )
(comparative awfuller or more awful, superlative awfullest or most awful)
- Oppressing with fear or horror; appalling, terrible.
- (now rare) Inspiring awe; filling with profound reverence or respect; profoundly impressive.
- Struck or filled with awe.
- Worshipful; reverential; law-abiding.
- Exceedingly great; usually applied intensively.
- an awful bonnet
- I have learnt an awful amount today.
- Very bad.
- My socks smell awful.
- Nouns to which "awful" is often applied: day, truth, time, place, moment, mess, night, news, state, situation, smell, thought, person, pain, movie, consequence, crime, fate, death, tragedy, man, event, disease, story, condition, mistake, taste, picture, year, calamity, doom, film, catastrophe, secret, performance, storm, end, week, shape, choice.
From awe + -ful.