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[fi-nom-uh-nl] /fɪˈnɒm ə nl/
highly extraordinary or prodigious; exceptional:
phenomenal speed.
of or relating to phenomena.
of the nature of a phenomenon; cognizable by the senses.
Origin of phenomenal
1815-25; phenomen(on) + -al1
Related forms
phenomenality, noun
phenomenally, adverb
nonphenomenal, adjective
nonphenomenally, adverb
semiphenomenal, adjective
semiphenomenally, adverb
unphenomenal, adjective
unphenomenally, adverb
Can be confused
phenomena, phenomenal, phenomenon (see usage note at phenomenon)
1. uncommon, outstanding, surpassing, unprecedented. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for phenomenal
  • For the most part, it is much more worthwhile to dwell on the phenomenal opportunities than on the poison pens.
  • Ultimately, the book is a candid testament to a phenomenal creative drive joined with a phenomenal will to live.
  • Bike through this riverside town to soak in phenomenal fall colors.
  • On occasion, I make phenomenal pancakes for all three of us.
  • It is phenomenal that so many knitters and designers have been inspired by the knitting of a tiny island.
  • The phenomenal evidence directly confirms that the universe is discontinuous.
  • He was smart and funny and charming, and he had phenomenal energy.
  • He's had a huge growth and developmental spurt and he's in phenomenal shape.
  • It's phenomenal to contribute to the online discourse and to educate the public.
  • It was a phenomenal experience.
British Dictionary definitions for phenomenal


of or relating to a phenomenon
extraordinary; outstanding; remarkable: a phenomenal achievement
(philosophy) known or perceived by the senses rather than the mind
Derived Forms
phenomenally, adverb
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 phenomenal

1803, "of the nature of a phenomenon," a hybrid from phenomenon + -al (1). Meaning "remarkable, exceptional" is from 1850.

[Phenomenal] is a metaphysical term with a use of its own. To divert it from this proper use to a job for which it is not needed, by making it do duty for remarkable, extraordinary, or prodigious, is a sin against the English language. [Fowler]
Related: Phenomenally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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