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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for awe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Harvey always looked upon them with reverence, if not with awe.

    The Whirlpool George Gissing
  • He stopped and listened a moment in awe at the strange effects.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • He found something mysterious, illusory, phantasmal about her which filled him with awe.

    The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci Dmitry Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky
  • To men of forty or fifty, who are still unknown, no awe is due.

  • It came though—the wonder and the awe: and I look back with pride upon that day.

    At the Court of the Amr John Alfred Gray
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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