un awful

awful

[aw-fuhl]
adjective
1.
extremely bad; unpleasant; ugly: awful paintings; an awful job.
2.
inspiring fear; dreadful; terrible: an awful noise.
3.
solemnly impressive; inspiring awe: the awful majesty of alpine peaks.
4.
full of awe; reverential.
5.
extremely dangerous, risky, injurious, etc.: That was an awful fall she had. He took an awful chance by driving here so fast.
adverb
6.
Informal. very; extremely: He did an awful good job of painting the barn. It's awful hot in here.

Origin:
1200–50; Middle English a(g)heful, aueful; see awe, -ful; replacing Old English egefull dreadful

awfulness, noun
quasi-awful, adjective
quasi-awfully, adverb
unawful, adjective
unawfulness, noun

awful, awesome, offal (see usage note at the current entry).


Although some object to any use of awful or awfully in any sense not connected with a feeling of awe, both have been used in other senses for several centuries. Awful and awfully as adverbial intensifiers—awful(ly)hot; awful(ly)cold—appear in the early 19th century, following much the same pattern as horribly anddreadfully. As an adverb awful is less formal in tone than awfully. In the sense “inspiring awe or fear” awesome has largely replaced awful.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
awful (ˈɔːfʊl)
 
adj
1.  very bad; unpleasant
2.  archaic inspiring reverence or dread
3.  archaic overcome with awe; reverential
 
adv
4.  not standard (intensifier): an awful cold day
 
[C13: see awe, -ful]
 
'awfulness
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

awful
c.1300, agheful, from aghe an earlier form of awe, + -ful. Replaced O.E. egefull. Weakened sense "exceedingly" is from 1818.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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