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!

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55 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!

  6. Pingback: Meme Me | The Happy Logophile

  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
    A\w/eso\m/e

  11. Pingback: the universe is watching you. possibly? | a different daylight

  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.

    Fantabulous!

    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
    1983

  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?
    COOLIKO

  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.

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