28 Words to Use Instead of “Awesome”

It’s official: “awesome” is dead.

It’s our fault. We killed it. We took a word that literally meant “awe-inspiring” – a word used to describe Mount Everest and the Andromeda Galaxy and God Almighty – and applied it to a YouTube video of a kid failing to swing a stick.

Don’t get me wrong. Words change meaning over time, I’m all for evolution. But “awesome,” in its current state, has the impact of limp ramen on Kevlar. When someone tells me something is awesome, my brain files that something into the category of things that exist, because that’s all they’ve told me about it.

I know – I’m as guilty as anyone else. But as I carried the disease, so shall I deliver the cure.

Let’s give “awesome” a break. As writers (or merely as excellent dudes and ladies) let’s do our duty to the English language. The next time you feel like using “awesome” for something really good, give another word a chance instead.

28 Words to Use Instead of “Awesome”

1. Outstanding
2. Astounding
3. Staggering
4. Kryptonian*
5. Breathtaking
6. Stunning
7. Prodigious
8. Stupendous
9. Righteous
10. Wicked
11. Superb
12. Sublime
13. Indomitable
14. Transcendent
15. Marvelous
16. Resplendent
17. Phenomenal
18. Remarkable
19. Funkadelic*
20. Magnificent
21. Virtuosic
22. Rapturous
23. Flawless
24. Majestic
25. Splendiferous
26. Badass
27. Kickass
28. Legendary

*Some people may try to tell you this is not a real word. Ignore them.

Now, a caveat. Remember when your fifth-grade English teacher passed out those handouts of words to use instead of “said,” and suddenly every story had people “exclaiming” and “expounding” and (scary but true) “ejaculating”?

Same deal here. Every word is a little different, and you can’t necessarily just drag and drop. You may have to examine the context a bit. Y’all are smart, you can do it. I have faith.

Got any other words for “awesome”? Tell me in the comments!

96 responses to “28 Words to Use Instead of “Awesome”

  1. You forgot excellent, which is funny cause you used it in the post, if not in the list.

    Let’s see….

    Amazing, unimaginable, incredible, wonderful, brilliant, mind blowing, outrageous, wow.

    There’s probably more. I wonder if this will do more hard than good :D

  2. Extraordinary is another one I really like!

    Man look what you’ve started now.

  3. Great post. :)
    I have a 4 year old who thinks ‘awesome’ is the most awesome word ever, and uses it at every available opportunity. Thus he has developed a list of terms to describe exactly how awesome something really is. From “least awesome” to “most awesome”:

    – Good
    – Great
    – Awesome
    – Really Awesome
    – Super Awesome
    – Double Awesome
    – Super Double Awesome
    – Most Awesome in th Whole World
    – Most Awesome in my Whole Life
    – Fabulicious

    I know, the last one is a bit out of left field. But you just don’t get better than fabulicious.

    (My favourites are fantastic and amazing.)

  4. This is excellent (like how I stopped myself from using awesome there?).

    Have you ever seen Eddie Izzard’s skit on the original meaning of “awesome” versus the one we use today? It’s good, good stuff…

  5. Oh wow, I didn’t realize that would embed the video!

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  7. I love kryptonian and funkadelic the best!

  8. alarming, astonishing, awe-inspiring, awful, beautiful, breathtaking, daunting, dreadful, exalted, far out, fearful, fearsome, formidable, frantic, frightening, grand, imposing, impressive, intimidating, magnificent, majestic, mind-blowing*, moving, nervous, overwhelming, shocking, striking, stunning, stupefying, terrible, terrifying, wonderful, wondrous, zero cool

  9. Wonderful! Everything about this blog was so entertaining! Keep it up!

  10. I have simply a word for you man

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  12. the worda sweet, narly, cool, and unbelievable are other words to use instead of awesome.

  13. It is awful when an awesome word is felled and its demise is attributed to evolution.

    Brian, you are a star! I never thought one would bother with the abuse of an erstwhile majestic word.


    P.S. Another word headed for the same graveyard as awesome is ‘basically’. There’s another critically ill candidate, ‘absolutely.’ Pray for them as hard as you can.

    Would also love to hear your views on the use of ‘going forward’ and ‘ I’ll take a call on that.’

    Certainly not that old devil evolution at play again? I guess I had best bury my old dictionary and get friendly with the times.

  14. Didn’t know about your column. I signed up so I can see more. Comments are VERY interesting and fun to read. (Related to William F. Buckley?)

  15. Not enough thanks but even then i would like to say thnx heaps realy found it superb

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  17. Personally I think some thangs are jest PLAIN PURDY. or FANTASTICAL

  18. I tend to use SPIFFY or WUNDERBAR! because inserting random German is always fun.

  19. Reblogged this on Wife, Writer, Woman and commented:
    I’m always looking for new, interesting, and rapturous adjectives of stupendousness. Check out this list if you do the same!

  20. U can used “Radiant”

  21. Sick, provided you were born before

  22. Peachy keen, the cat’s meow, the bees’ knees, stellar, enchanting, Herculean, gigantic!

  23. Pingback: Empowering stuff for great people #3 – The (dying) Art of Eloquence | tracyvanderschyff

  24. Bitchin’ tubular, gnarly, and fantastic are my favorite. ( :

  25. I am so sick of hearing such a ‘big’ word being applied to such ‘small’ things. British people use it now and I hate hearing it from them even more than I do from Americans. I looked up the meaning and it said “A ‘sticking plaster’ word used by Americans to cover over the huge gaps in their vocabulary.” My thoughts exactly so come on us Brits use all the other marvellous descriptive words we know!

  26. another word for awesome is jahsten lol.btw thats my name

  27. Do you know what word you forgot?

  28. I’m partial to my OGSB (old gay standby): “FABULOUS!”

  29. What about astonishing

  30. Brilliant, or my second favourite (after awesome) is Fckn “A”

  31. fantabulouslyzingable magnififunkadelicfabulicious extremelystupeficiently EPIC!

  32. thanx for the latest words…….

  33. Was real.

  34. *splendiferous*yeh its cool

  35. This article is awesome… I mean great, wonderful, excellent, extraordinary, etc! I’m posting on Facebook n tweeting this right now!

  36. Reblogged this on Hello, my name is (Casey) and commented:
    I often find myself perpetuating the “awesome” fad when speaking or writing. This marvelous list of alternatives has been of great help since I’ve found it. Props to Buckley!

  37. Stupendous collection! :) I enjoyed your style of writing very much. You grabbed my attention from the beginning. Look forward to reading more.

  38. mabye you sholdnt use the word ass

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  40. Hurrah, that’s what I was searching for, what a information! existing
    here at this weblog, thanks admin of this website.

  41. Awesome
    superb words and majestic thank

  42. Brilliant, amusing

  43. Reblogged this on Pearlz Dreaming and commented:
    I love this list from Brian D Buckley – my challenge after the blog tour ends is to use these 28 other words….

  44. Reblogged this on bialko and commented:
    err, awesome?

  45. How about just growing up and start speaking like adults?

  46. I vote foe unnebbable.

  47. I have a book in my shelf which might interest you. The name is ” this Idea must die ” Its a compilation of many ideas from scientists , sages, psychitrists, philosophers etc etc. According to all the contributors , many concepts , ideas etc must die to make room for the NEW ONES.
    I am certainly delighted at the death of ” Awesome/ awesomer/awesomest” and love to use more Native pure English Adjectives which many of you listed here . This is really AWESOME. ooops I have done it again .

  48. Splendiferous, was my favorite

  49. You forgot a really common one: Beast

  50. Forget adjectives. They’re just meaningless words.

  51. Meaningless is an adjective, I know, which is the trouble with this site that doesn’t allow you to edit your comments. Boo! Forget adjectives, they’re just words.

  52. Today the word awesome has lost its true luster and became anything that is not bad. What a waste of a persons mind to use this word.

  53. Nice replacement words for ‘awesome.’ I wish to be learned , I want to be more educated when it comes to the utilization of english or grammars. Any assist?

    • Mignon Fogarty’s website, Grammar Girl, has a lot of great tips on grammar, word usage, and punctuation. She’s pretty reliable, although not perfect. She has a book called Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing.

      If English is not your first language, though, probably the best way to improve your grammar is to read a lot. Read as many books as you can, on any topic that interests you. It might also be useful to keep a diary in English, to give you some extra writing practice.

      Good luck!

  54. ‘Tiptop’ should be noted for awesome.

  55. EPIC, folks!

  56. YES! Thank you! I have used this site for a long time and have meant to reply to show my gratitude long ago but have never caught the time, but here it is, keep your fantastical work! (fantastical: new word?)

  57. Slow to respond but could use Fantasmagorical (fantastic, awesome and magical rolled into 1!) :)

  58. superb, I rarely use this word, but others might. Thank you for this list I was about to use ‘pretty cool’ on an assignment, but thought the better of it.
    (for those of you who have watched Guardians of the Galaxy)
    My vocabilistists ain’t as good as you so my words are limited to cool, amazing, and awesome, exclusively in that order.

  59. You forgot great,good,congratulation

  60. You forgot great,good,conguratulation.

  61. Fantabulous πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘ŒπŸ»πŸ˜ƒ

  62. MOINKING COW PIGS are all of those above

  63. Superfly, superfluous, where my favorite to quote a wonderful word from The Princess Bride, inconceivable!

  64. The Cat’s Pyjamas. The Bee’s Knees.

  65. Epic
    Simple Definition of epic
    : Telling a story about a hero or about exciting events or adventures
    : Very great or large and usually difficult or impressive

  66. What about Wonderful, Mind-blowing, Spectacular, Fantastic, Fetch, Groovy, Cool, Magnificent, Un-Believable etc…

  67. If there is anything more undesirable than “awesome” it could just be “cool”. Can we please bin this over-used answer to everything at this very instant, so that it becomes totally degraded and can never, ever, be resurrected.

  68. The best is from Adventure Time: That is so math.

  69. And finally, anything but the also-beaten-to-death “iconic.”

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