• synonyms


[aw-fuh-lee, awf-lee]
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  1. very; extremely: That was awfully nice of you. He's awfully slow.
  2. in a manner provoking censure, disapproval, or the like: She behaved awfully all evening.
  3. Archaic.
    1. in a manner inspiring awe: shouting awfully the dreaded curse.
    2. in a manner expressing awe: to stare awfully.
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Origin of awfully

1350–1400; Middle English auefulli; see awful, -ly

Usage note

See awful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for awfully


  1. in an unpleasant, bad, or reprehensible manner
  2. informal (intensifier)I'm awfully keen to come
  3. archaic so as to express or inspire awe
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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

Word Origin and History for awfully


c.1300, "so as to inspire reverence," from awful + -ly (2). Meaning "dreadfully, so as to strike one with awe" is recorded from late 14c. As a simple intensifier, "very, exceedingly," recorded from c.1830.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper