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 formsphe·nom·e·nal·i·ty, nounphe·nom·e·nal·ly, adverbnon·phe·nom·e·nal, adjectivenon·phe·nom·e·nal·ly, adverbsem·i·phe·nom·e·nal, adjectivesem·i·phe·nom·e·nal·ly, adverbun·phe·nom·e·nal, adjectiveun·phe·nom·e·nal·ly, adverb
Can be confusedphenomena phenomenal phenomenon (see usage note at phenomenon)

Synonyms for phenomenal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for phenomenally

Contemporary Examples of phenomenally

Historical Examples of phenomenally

  • 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


  • 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; remarkablea phenomenal achievement
philosophy known or perceived by the senses rather than the mind
Derived Formsphenomenally, 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

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