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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 phenomenally
  • You've got a phenomenally huge set of other problems to work out for that to fly.
  • Thus suicide bombing has become phenomenally popular.
  • Again, all this is amazing stuff: a phenomenally important story, if true.
  • It is huge and has grown phenomenally quickly, but the demands placed on it at home are also huge.
  • Not only is this unjust, it is also phenomenally inefficient.
  • The potential for medical breakthroughs in existing disabilities is phenomenally important.
  • Even something as simple as seeing, he explains, requires phenomenally complex information processing.
  • The slender but powerful marten moves phenomenally fast in trees, often catching red squirrels after high-speed chases.
British Dictionary definitions for phenomenally


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 phenomenally



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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