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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
First recorded in 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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for phenomenally
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This ratio is phenomenally large, and should not be taken as a guide by amateurs.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • The Daytons, who were phenomenally ugly in a bony way, were the Daytons.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
  • It has its start, you see, and it is a phenomenally good one.

  • He is so bright and intelligent, as a rule, that you wonder why he is so phenomenally vulgar.

    The Arena Various
  • Avdotya Romanovna is awfully chaste, incredibly and phenomenally so.

    Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky
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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