Definition of awful in English:


Line breaks: awful
Pronunciation: /ˈɔːfʊl
, -f(ə)l/


  • 2 [attributive] Used to emphasize the extent of something, especially something unpleasant or negative: I’ve made an awful fool of myself
    More example sentences
    • I made an awful fool of myself.
    • There's an awful risk of confusion for buyers.
    • It's still an awful burden.
  • 3 archaic Inspiring reverential wonder or fear.
    More example sentences
    • He is not always the evil, ghoulish, awful, frightening character that sometimes the Satanists would picture him to be.
    • They walk in awful splendor, regal yet.
    • The awful majesty of God now will not be in the way to hinder perfect freedom and intimacy in the enjoyment of God.
    awe-inspiring, awesome, impressive, amazing; dread, fearful


[as submodifier] informal , chiefly North American Back to top  
  • Awfully; very: we’re an awful long way from the motorway
    More example sentences
    • This is an awful serious proposition… Let me argue it out for you.
    • And yet those games of the early 80s seem awful quaint now, don't they?
    • He has gotten awful buddy-buddy with them lately - maneuvering for the job?


an awful lot

A very large amount; a great deal: we’ve had an awful lot of letters
More example sentences
  • In the end it was down to an awful lot of luck and an awful lot of serendipity.
  • As a result, I do seem to have ended up knowing an awful lot of detail about an awful lot of blogs.
  • You can spend an awful lot of time as an addict, an awful lot of useless time, debating such stuff.



More example sentences
  • Criticise that which needs criticising, but spare us your hand-wringing homilies of Australian awfulness.
  • Now the world is beginning to see the awfulness of modern war.
  • I've written before about the awfulness of e-mail.


Old English (see awe, -ful).

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Pronunciation: ˌastrəˈgāSHən
(in science fiction) navigation in outer space