(adjective, adverb)


1. exceptionally bad or displeasing

- an awful voice

Similar word(s): bad, abominable, atrocious, dreadful, painful, terrible, unspeakable

2. causing fear or dread or terror

- the awful war

- an awful risk

Similar word(s): alarming, dire, direful, dread, dreaded, dreadful, fearful, fearsome, frightening, horrendous, horrific, terrible

3. offensive or even (of persons) malicious

Similar word(s): dirty, filthy, lousy, grotty, hateful, mean, unpleasant, nasty

4. inspired by a feeling of fearful wonderment or reverence

- awful worshippers with bowed heads

Similar word(s): reverent, awed

5. extreme in degree or extent or amount or impact

Similar word(s): extraordinary, frightful, terrible, tremendous

6. inspiring awe or admiration or wonder

- this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath

Similar word(s): impressive, amazing, awesome, awing

Sentences with awful as an adjective:

- an awful bonnet

- I have learnt an awful amount today.

- My socks smell awful.


1. used as intensifiers

- I'm awful sorry

Similar word(s): awfully, frightfully, terribly