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The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the adjective awful:


The word awful is considered to be an easy one, according to the Dale-Chall word list, which includes 3000 words that all fourth-grade American students should know and understand.

Video footage: An awful lot of ants in the anthill
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Definition of the adjective awful

What does awful mean as an attribute of a noun?

adjective - degrees: more awful / awfuller | most awful / awfullest

  1. exceptionally bad or displeasing
  2. causing fear or dread or terror
  3. offensive or even (of persons) malicious
  4. inspired by a feeling of fearful wonderment or reverence
    • example: awful worshippers with bowed heads
    • synonym of awful: awed
    • similar: reverent
  5. extreme in degree or extent or amount or impact
  6. inspiring awe or admiration or wonder

Alternative definition of the adjective awful


  1. Oppressing with fear or horror; appalling, terrible.
  2. [context: now rare] Inspiring awe; filling with profound reverence or respect; profoundly impressive.
  3. Struck or filled with awe.
  4. [obsolete] Terror-stricken.
  5. Worshipful; reverential; law-abiding.
  6. Exceedingly great; usually applied intensively.
  7. Very bad.

Definition of the adverb awful

What does awful mean as an attribute of something other than a noun?


  1. used as intensifiers

Alternative definition of the adverb awful


  1. [colloquial] Very, extremely; as, an 'awful' big house.


  1. "Awful" is the twelfth single, and also third EP, by American alternative rock band Hole, from their third studio album Celebrity Skin. Released in April 1999 by Geffen Records as a CD single, the song's lyrics explore how the media and modern pop culture corrupt young girls and how they should rebel against this. The line "swing low, sweet cherry" in the song is an allusion to the African American spiritual hymn, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot".
  2. "Awful" is the 1999 single album by Hole.
    • released on (15 years ago)
  3. "Awful" is a musical single of Tülpa.
    • released on

Phrases with Awful

  1. god-awful
  2. Something Awful

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Awful

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Google previewDictionary of Americanism (1848)

by John Russel Bartlett

AWFUL, adj ...

Google previewDictionary of Confusable Words (2000)

by Adrian Room

AWESOME/AWFUL awesome/ awful Awesome is used for someone or something that inspires or displays awe or is usually impressive: 'The mountain was an awesome sight.' Awful formerly had a similar meaning ('full of awe'), especially ...

Google previewFowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage (2015)

by Henry Watson Fowler, Jeremy Butterfield

awful including the following: The depth of quality on the Steeler squad is awesome—there is no apparent weakness anywhere—A. Mount in Playboy, 1979. Its current, widespread use as a blanket term of approval is first noted in the Official ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Awful

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Photos about Awful

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If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of Omg, that`s awful! Vertical shot of astonished dark skinned male guy keeps mouth wide opened, exclaims emotionally, clenches fists, poses against white background with copy space for informationSmall photo of Woman Surprise Shock Stun Awful ConceptSmall photo of Photo of stunned dark skinned father and son looks with unexpected expression directly at camera, being shocked to recieve awful news, isolated over pink background. People, emotions, reactionSmall photo of Illustration of awful sadness face on bannerSmall photo of awful word in a dictionary. awful concept.Small photo of awful word in a dictionary. awful concept.Small photo of awful word in a dictionary. awful concept. More...

Video language resources about Awful

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View more videos about Feeling Awful and Something Awful.

See also the pronunciation examples of Awful!

Quotes about Awful

Into this, for good or ill, is woven every belief of every man who has speech of his fellows. A awful privilege, and an awful responsibility, that we should help to create the world in which posterity will live. (William Kingdon Clifford)
more quotes about awful...

Scrabble value of A1W4F4U1L1

The value of this 5-letter word is 11 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of AWFUL

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See also the blanagrams of Awful!

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