Definition of awe in English:

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Pronunciation: /ô/


1A feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder: they gazed in awe at the small mountain of diamonds the sight filled me with awe his staff members are in awe of him
More example sentences
  • No doubt they were in awe of her wonderful creation, not that she could blame them.
  • I am thinking of awe, reverence, respect and emotions too deep for words.
  • She wondered what it felt like to have that kind of passion and was in awe of their desire to get the job done.
admiration, reverence, respect, esteem;
dread, fear
1.1 archaic Capacity to inspire awe: is it any wonder that Christmas Eve has lost its awe?
More example sentences
  • The ministry has lost its awe and power.
  • The Metro has lost its awe, and I now feel like a true Muscovite as I monotonously ride the Metro without effort.
  • The Home Run Derby has already lost some of its awe and eventually these new games and contests would grow old and boring as well.


[with object] (usually be awed)
Inspire with awe: they were both awed by the vastness of the forest
More example sentences
  • As a struggling artist, this kind of thing inspires me and awes me.
  • Be awed by the untouched vastness of some of the oldest mountains on the planet.
  • Neither of those buildings could be described as traditional - the Empire State Building awes you with its mass, not its subtle detail.
filled with wonder, wonderstruck, awestruck, amazed, astonished, lost for words, open-mouthed;


Old English ege 'terror, dread, awe', replaced in Middle English by forms related to Old Norse agi.

  • The battle plan for the 2003 invasion of Iraq by US-led forces was dubbed shock and awe. The phrase was not invented by President George W. Bush or Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, but came from Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance (1996), by the US strategic analysts Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade. The Old English word awe originally meant ‘terror or dread’. Gradually people started to use it to express their feelings for God, thereby introducing the senses of great respect and wonder. Both awful (Old English) and awesome (late 16th century) have become weaker in meaning over the centuries. Awful was originally used to describe things that caused terror or dread. Other old meanings included ‘awe-inspiring’ and ‘filled with awe’; the modern sense ‘extremely bad’ dates from the early 19th century. Awesome at first meant ‘filled with awe’. It later came to mean ‘inspiring awe’, and in the 1960s took on the rather weaker meaning of ‘overwhelming, remarkable, staggering’. Now it can just mean ‘great, excellent’, especially in the USA.

Words that rhyme with awe

abhor, adore, afore, anymore, ashore, bandore, Bangalore, before, boar, Boer, bore, caw, chore, claw, cocksure, comprador, cor, core, corps, craw, Delors, deplore, door, draw, drawer, evermore, explore, flaw, floor, for, forbore, fore, foresaw, forevermore, forswore, four, fourscore, furthermore, Gábor, galore, gnaw, gore, grantor, guarantor, guffaw, hard-core, Haugh, haw, hoar, ignore, implore, Indore, interwar, jaw, Johor, Lahore, law, lessor, lor, lore, macaw, man-o'-war, maw, mirador, mor, more, mortgagor, Mysore, nevermore, nor, oar, obligor, offshore, onshore, open-jaw, or, ore, outdoor, outwore, paw, poor, pore, pour, rapport, raw, roar, saw, scaur, score, senhor, señor, shaw, ship-to-shore, shop-floor, shore, signor, Singapore, snore, soar, softcore, sore, spore, store, straw, swore, Tagore, tau, taw, thaw, Thor, threescore, tor, tore, torr, trapdoor, tug-of-war, two-by-four, underfloor, underscore, war, warrantor, Waugh, whore, withdraw, wore, yaw, yore, your

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: awe

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