• (British) IPA: /ˈɔːfʊl/, /ˈɔːfəl/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈɔfəl/
  • (cot-caught) IPA: /ˈɑfəl/

awful (comparative awfuller, superlative awfullest)

  1. Very bad.
    My socks smell awful.
    We saw such an awful film last night that we left the theater before the end.
  2. Exceedingly great; usually applied intensively.
    an awful bonnet
    I have learnt an awful amount today.
  3. (now dated) Causing fear or horror; appalling, terrible.
    • 1839, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Schalken the Painter
      There was an air of gravity and importance about the garb of the person, and something indescribably odd, I might say awful, in the perfect, stonelike stillness of the figure, that effectually checked the testy comment which had at once risen to the lips of the irritated artist.
  4. (now rare) Inspiring awe; filling with profound reverence or respect; profoundly impressive.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 56, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], book I, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      God ought not to be commixed in our actions, but with awful reverence, and an attention full of honour and respect.
    • 1819, Lord Byron, Don Juan, II.143:
      And then she stopped, and stood as if in awe / (For sleep is awful) […].
  5. (now rare) Struck or filled with awe.
  6. (obsolete) Terror-stricken.
  7. Worshipful; reverential; law-abiding.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Adverb

awful (not comparable)

  1. Awfully; dreadfully; terribly.
  2. (colloquial, US, Canada) Very, extremely.
    That's an awful big house.
    She seemed awful nice when I met her yesterday.
    He was blubbering away something awful.

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