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More than 55 different ways to say “awesome”

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 @ 08:07 PM
posted by Barbsawyers

try an alternative to "awesome," the most over-used wordAwesome must be the most over-used word in North America. So let’s stop using  it as our default every time we are too lazy or busy or insecure or stupid or whatever to think of a more original or relevant word.

Let’s stop using it because we’re middle-aged  business people who think it makes us look cool. It doesn’t.

Let’s stop using it because we are so riveted to the game control, iPhone or other obsessions that we begrudge the  brain cells required to process language.

Scary awful meanings

Despite the monotonous ubiquity, most people seem unaware of the full meaning. In addition to inspiring joyful awe, awesome can mean inspiring terror, as in “the awesome power of the sea.”

Not only that, the word awful, I discovered, is actually a synonym for awesome, providing you communicate in an olde English dialect. Gee, I’m starting to sound like Grammar Girl. Back to the anti-awesome movement I’m trying to muster.

In my quest for alternatives to awesome, I checked with Wikipedia, thesaurus.com and some other sources. I also asked people on Facebook and other social media, where I often spot the biggest offenders. Most recently, readers of Ragan.com, where this post appeared, added some zingers. Thank you, everyone.

I deleted “amazing” from my earlier list after several Ragan readers complaints about its overuse. As Jackie O wrote: ” ‘amazing’ is used by empty-headed little marketing girls who think that every occurrence in their day is worthy of it. I once asked one of these little dim bulbs if I could get her a glass of water. Her reply was “that would be amazing”. Really? Had someone been torturing this woman by denying her water? ”

The anti-awesome list

Please add your suggestions in the comments below.

astonishing

awe-inspiring

awe-struck

beautiful

beyond the call

breathtaking

brilliant

clever

cool

dazzling

epic

excellent

exceptional

exciting

fabulous

fantastic

great

groovy

heart-stopping

humbling

impressive

incredible

ingenious

magnificent

majestic

marvelous

mind-blowing

momentous

moving

out of this world

outstanding

overwhelming

phenomenal

powerful

remarkable

righteous

shazam

sick

simply divine

spectacular

staggering

striking

stunning

stupendous

superb

sweet

terrific

the bees’ knees

the bomb

wow

splendiferous

fantasmagorical

un-freakin believable

wonderful

wondrous

you rock

I don’t want to banish awesome entirely. Occasionally, it is the best choice. But I would love to hear a little more thought behind those robotic mouth movements.

Let me add that no one is required to use any of the words on this list that make them uncomfortable. These are simply options. You  choose.

For those of you who want to keep it simple, try a word from this list the next time you are tempted to slip into awesome. Maybe you should give yourself a daily awesome limit, then wean yourself  gradually.

For those of you with more alternatives, please add them below in the Comments section. I’ll update the post with them.

Welcome to the anti-awesome movement, oh wise ones.

42 Responses to “More than 55 different ways to say “awesome””

  1. [...] 30+ alternatives to “awesome” Posted on September 8, 2009 by barbsawyers This post has been updated and moved. [...]

  2. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    As someone who is guilty of excessive awesome usage (but not excessive awesomeness–that I can’t help), I shall try to rein it it, even if just a little. Something tells me giving up pasta will turn out to be the easier of the two challenges.

  3. Sue Horner says:

    Good luck with your crusade, Barb! I don’t use the word a lot myself (I don’t think so, anyway) but I am still OK if anyone wants to call ME awesome! Just about any of your alternatives would do, too. Except maybe “Shazam!”

  4. Dustin says:

    The problem with using the definition of the word “awesome” as it appears in dictionaries as a method for discouraging its use is that language changes over time. It is not something stagnant and unaffected by evolving cultural norms.

    While I do agree that a more varied vocabulary sounds better, not everyone aspires to communicate with the most elegant of prose. No amount of whining on your part will fix that.

  5. [...] Encouraging news. Many people don’t want to flail the same tired words over and over. Or they wouldn’t keep reading my most popular post of 2010. Please add your suggestions for alternatives to awesome. [...]

  6. Jane says:

    Barb, I’m interested in starting a blog about music, jazz in particular, directed at young musicians. I don’t have a website yet.

    Your site is exactly what I need. How I appreciate all the iinfo and I”m ordering your book. I love to write as much as I love to sing, BTW. I was just thinking the other day about more alternatives to the normal praise-words we say. I heard someone say “That’s insane.” Maybe it’s not the best, but at least it’s an alternative which I’m submitting to your list.

    At my alma mater, Auburn University, we use “awesome” as a battle cry, pronounced the same way:AUsome! I don’t think that will be going away any time soon. I’m glad to see you don’t dismiss it altogether. But I agree that we all could use some alternatives. Thanks for such a wonderful site.

  7. Jane says:

    Forgot to say, I’m glad I haven’t seen “gob-smacked” on the list. I’m already so tired of that one, I could scream.

  8. Steve S. says:

    Really? You’d prefer a misuse of “epic” to a misuse of “awesome”?

  9. Barbsawyers says:

    Yes, I hate awesome that much, though I don’t use epic much.

  10. Charlotte Roy says:

    I like mind boggling!

  11. [...] every day my top post is 55+ ways to say awesome. Every month, the top phrase searched to find my site includes the word [...]

  12. [...] People keep using this word when they’re too lazy to think of a more original one or want to look cool. Learn some alternatives or share some of your own. [...]

  13. Bob says:

    This Post is AWESOME!!!

  14. [...] to cool have turned up in my search results, probably egged on by the ongoing popularity of my awesome post. Many of the 55 alternatives to tired awesome would work for the mundane interpretation of [...]

  15. [...] IABC colleague once pondered different ways say awesome. Maybe it’s time to take this further and seek alternatives to “the killer [...]

  16. Integrity2Impact » Should Curbing Violence Start with Words? says:

    [...] IABC colleague once pondered different ways say awesome. Maybe it’s time to take this further and seek alternatives to “the killer [...]

  17. [...] add a drum roll, fireworks or other flourish  if only my top post weren’t so predictable. This has been my top post almost every day for the past year and a [...]

  18. Chris says:

    This list is awesome, thank you so much!

  19. Cheistiane B says:

    .splendid, .astonishing, .striking, astounding, stunning, . 7.magnificent,. inconceivable,.majestic,
    mind-blowing. first-rate. fly, top,legendary, 15.marvelous, mind-blowing, out-of-sight, aces, spectacular, striking, stupendous, super, superb, terrific, the cat’s meow, delicious, top drawer, sensational, staggering, admirable, consummate, transcendent, tremendous, dandy , thats tits, deluxe,unparalleled, significant,, dope, so disco, the cats pajamas, scintillating, titillating, ginchy, stellar, beyond, radical, the living end, the be all end all, piece de resistance,with flying colors, amazeballs, too cool for school peachy, all the way live, award worthy, WINNING, tubular, first-class, unreal, wicked, fresh, neat, nifty, nice, colossal, keen, smashing, swanky, highfalutin, exceptional, commendable, deluxe, laudable, merit able, meritorious, slick, exalted, sublime, gorgeous, grandiose, luxurious, magnanimous, resplendent, superlative

  20. Barbsawyers says:

    Some great additions. I’ll add them next time I update the list. Thanks

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  22. Barbsawyers says:

    Thanks for pointing that out. I’ll follow up.

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