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[aw] /ɔ/
an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like:
in awe of God; in awe of great political figures.
Archaic. power to inspire fear or reverence.
Obsolete. fear or dread.
verb (used with object), awed, awing.
to inspire with awe.
to influence or restrain by awe.
Origin of awe
1250-1300; Middle English aghe, awe < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse agi fear, cognate with Gothic agis, Old English ege, Greek áchos pain
Related forms
outawe, verb (used with object), outawed, outawing.
1. wonder, veneration.
1. apathy; contempt. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for awe
  • And it takes away not one whit of the awe and sheer amazement such an event engenders.
  • It is this kind of research that leaves me overwhelmed by awe and amazement.
  • Revealing and concealing at the same time, this book visits upon the reader the awe and mystery of an almost sacred initiation.
  • My young friend looked at me with a mixture of awe and compassion.
  • For anyone who has ever gazed up at the heavens in awe, this is a book to treasure.
  • That has earned him the respect, and often awe, of fellow designers.
  • Many of his fellow poets were in awe of his skills.
  • Other players stared around the stadium in awe.
  • One is in awe of the magic of his language.
  • His dark, stately style suits his characters well, and the sheer multitude of pieces he fits into his puzzle inspires awe.
British Dictionary definitions for awe


overwhelming wonder, admiration, respect, or dread
(archaic) power to inspire fear or reverence
(transitive) to inspire with reverence or dread
Derived Forms
aweless, (US) awless, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old Norse agi; related to Gothic agis fear, Greek akhesthai to be grieved
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for awe

c.1300, earlier aghe, c.1200, from a Scandinavian source, e.g. Old Norse agi "fright;" from Proto-Germanic *agiz- (cf. Old English ege "fear," Old High German agiso "fright, terror," Gothic agis "fear, anguish"), from PIE *agh-es- (cf. Greek akhos "pain, grief"), from root *agh- "to be depressed, be afraid" (see ail). Current sense of "dread mixed with veneration" is due to biblical use with reference to the Supreme Being. Awe-inspiring is recorded from 1814.


c.1300, from awe (n.); Old English had egan (v.). Related: Awed; awing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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awe in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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