English dictionary

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English adjective: awful

1. awful exceptionally bad or displeasing

SamplesAtrocious taste.
Abominable workmanship.
An awful voice.
Dreadful manners.
A painful performance.
Terrible handwriting.
An unspeakable odor came sweeping into the room.

Synonymsabominable, atrocious, dreadful, painful, terrible, unspeakable



2. awful causing fear or dread or terror

SamplesThe 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.

Synonymsdire, direful, dread, dreaded, dreadful, fearful, fearsome, frightening, horrendous, horrific, terrible



3. awful offensive or even (of persons) malicious

SamplesIn 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?.


Similardirty, filthy, grotty, hateful, lousy, mean

See alsounpleasant



4. awful inspired by a feeling of fearful wonderment or reverence

SamplesAwed by the silence.
Awful worshippers with bowed heads.




5. awful extreme in degree or extent or amount or impact

SamplesIn a frightful hurry.
Spent a frightful amount of money.

Synonymsfrightful, terrible, tremendous


Domain usagecolloquialism


6. awful inspiring awe or admiration or wonder

SamplesNew 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.
Westminster Hall's awing majesty, so vast, so high, so silent.

Synonymsamazing, awe-inspiring, awesome, awing



English adverb: awful

1. awful used as intensifiers

SamplesTerribly interesting.
I'm awful sorry.

Synonymsawfully, frightfully, terribly

Domain usagecolloquialism

Based on WordNet 3.0 copyright © Princeton University.
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