About when did “awesome” loose its original meaning and become a synonym for just about anything that is not terrible?

It sure is an awesome word. :smiley:

Yeah. I wish I could quit saying it!

I wasn’t aware that a word was capable of letting go of something, since it is not even an object, let alone an animate one.

Couldn’t tell you when it began drifting away from a meaning of “inspiring awe” to a more common meaning of “very good” or “impressive,” but change was pretty clearly at work, if not fully established, quite some time ago:

CS Lewis, 1954, letter to a child, “Eustace as a dragon is your best [artwork] yet. Really awesome!”

I asked a similar question a while back regarding the use of the word ‘terrific’, mostly because back in the 30s the reporter describing the Hindenburg fire calls it, “…a terrific crash…”. Today it’s exclusively a superlative, but originally it must have been to terror what horrific was to horror.

“But to him who’s scientific
There is nothing that’s terrific
In the falling of a flight of thunderbolts.”

WS Gilbert, late 1800s

Around the same time that “loose” lost its original spelling.

It just so happens that I invented awesomeness. People are surprised to hear this because I don’t practice it very often. In fact, awesome has not lost it’s original meaning, instead everything is a lot more awesome than it used to be making awesomeness a less awesome characteristic than it used to be.

I can’t answer your question, Geoff, but I think it’s awesome every time I see a post from you on this board. I’m glad you’re still around!


74westy’s Law: Every word that originally meant “extremely ________” will eventually come to mean “really good”.

According Lego philosophy, everything is awesome.

Thanks. I’ll be 89 next month, so probably be around for another 20 years or so. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Panache45, I really do know when to use “lose” but have a new wireless keyboard that looooves to make me use extra keys. :smiley:

In the 80s, dude! About the same time “stoked” took on a different meaning. and “gnarly”. :slight_smile: