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”
*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!
You forgot excellent, which is funny cause you used it in the post, if not in the list.
Amazing, unimaginable, incredible, wonderful, brilliant, mind blowing, outrageous, wow.
There’s probably more. I wonder if this will do more hard than good 😀
Variety is the spice of life, as Paul Atreides used to say…
you forgot sprightly even I am more cleaver I am in year7
Hannah, dear oh dear, *clever.
inspiring to see a literary smart ass:):):)
Extraordinary is another one I really like!
Man look what you’ve started now.
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”:
– Really Awesome
– Super Awesome
– Double Awesome
– Super Double Awesome
– Most Awesome in th Whole World
– Most Awesome in my Whole Life
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.)
“Fabulicious”? Haha, that’s crazy talk! (Note to self: use this word in a conversation tonight.)
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…
Ha! That’s perfect, I love it!
WHAT ABOUT TREMENDOUS
what about “far-out” dude……
maybe the word natzi can correct that too::))
Oh wow, I didn’t realize that would embed the video!
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I love kryptonian and funkadelic the best!
Sometimes the non-canon ones are the most fun. Lewis Carroll would be proud. 🙂
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
Wonderful! Everything about this blog was so entertaining! Keep it up!
Thanks Franky. 🙂
I have simply a word for you man
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the worda sweet, narly, cool, and unbelievable are other words to use instead of awesome.
dont forget steezy, dope and nasty’
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.
Hi Amlan! Thanks for the comment. 🙂
If language abuse makes you cringe, you might enjoy this very short story too.
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?)
Thanks Francine! No relation that I’m aware of.
Not enough thanks but even then i would like to say thnx heaps realy found it superb
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Thats a great job.
Personally I think some thangs are jest PLAIN PURDY. or FANTASTICAL
I tend to use SPIFFY or WUNDERBAR! because inserting random German is always fun.
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!
U can used “Radiant”
Sick, provided you were born before
Peachy keen, the cat’s meow, the bees’ knees, stellar, enchanting, Herculean, gigantic!
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Came with another one
Great really helped
Bitchin’ tubular, gnarly, and fantastic are my favorite. ( :
Reblogged this on Beginner's Mind and commented:
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!
another word for awesome is jahsten lol.btw thats my name
Do you know what word you forgot?
I’m partial to my OGSB (old gay standby): “FABULOUS!”
What about astonishing
Brilliant, or my second favourite (after awesome) is Fckn “A”
fantabulouslyzingable magnififunkadelicfabulicious extremelystupeficiently EPIC!
thanx for the latest words…….
*splendiferous*yeh its cool
Like splendiiferous hope it has real meaning .i believe in it (awesome)
Like splendiiferous . I believe in” REAL “”that is what is “awesomest
This article is awesome… I mean great, wonderful, excellent, extraordinary, etc! I’m posting on Facebook n tweeting this right now!
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!
Stupendous collection! 🙂 I enjoyed your style of writing very much. You grabbed my attention from the beginning. Look forward to reading more.
mabye you sholdnt use the word ass
Too right … one is an absolute ass to do so …
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Hurrah, that’s what I was searching for, what a information! existing
here at this weblog, thanks admin of this website.
superb words and majestic thank
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….
Reblogged this on bialko and commented:
How about just growing up and start speaking like adults?
I vote foe unnebbable.
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 .
Splendiferous, was my favorite
You forgot a really common one: Beast
Forget adjectives. They’re just meaningless words.
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.
Haha…I was just about to reply and say what you said about “meaningless.” 🙂
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.
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.
‘Tiptop’ should be noted for awesome.
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?)
Slow to respond but could use Fantasmagorical (fantastic, awesome and magical rolled into 1!) 🙂
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.
You forgot great,good,congratulation
You forgot great,good,conguratulation.
MOINKING COW PIGS are all of those above
Superfly, superfluous, where my favorite to quote a wonderful word from The Princess Bride, inconceivable!
The Cat’s Pyjamas. The Bee’s Knees.
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
What about Wonderful, Mind-blowing, Spectacular, Fantastic, Fetch, Groovy, Cool, Magnificent, Un-Believable etc…
Finally!!! SOMEONE wrote Groovy!!!!!! That is GROOVY!!!
Brian This post is SUPER FANTASTIC, RUDDY AWESOME, MAGNIFICENT, GLORIOUS, MIND-BLOWING, EPIC, AMAZING, SWELL, SUPER, INCONCEIVABLE (The Princess Bride is (Ahem) AWESOME (Pardon that) by the way!)
Thank you so much for your reliable super AWESOME help (Lets not let ‘Awesome’ die completely shall we?
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.
The best is from Adventure Time: That is so math.
And finally, anything but the also-beaten-to-death “iconic.”
Reblogged this on Amie Reid and commented:
And for my Doctor Who fans and UK folks, “Brilliant” is an awesome alternative (literally!) #ECS311
“Brilliant” was very popular in the UK in the i980’s but was usually abbreviated to “Brill” – seems, thought, that it had quite a short lifespan, thank goodness.
“though”, of course. Predictive text is equally, if not more, irritating. My fault for not checking … mea culpa, mea maxima culpa …
Lol i do agree but i kind of am addicted to awesome because it’s starts with A like my name Aisha. I Love the letter A >_<
If you don't like my comment kindly avoid my email id lol
It was pointed out to me a little while back that I use the word awesome a lot. Frankly, I hadn’t even noticed, but once I was “informed” of this, I started to hear myself say it quite a bit, and began to try training myself to use something else since other people were apparently paying enough attention to comment about it. I mean, I also use words like dude and totally a lot. Is that so wrong?? Maybe don’t answer that.. ;0).
Siigghh…I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop saying awesome..nor do I want to! I have been making more use of words like excellent and wonderful in its place. But… I don’t know.. They just don’t seem expressive and all encompassing enough, so it seems I’m a creature of awesome habit. I just love awesome things and of course awesome people. I mean, it makes sense right? Awesome loves awesome! Ah man, I admit, I’m in too deep, but it’s too late now I’m afraid. Y’all go ahead and stop using it so much though, so it can be all mine, mine, mine! My awesome! Haha hahahaah
Ok take care and have an awesome night! Lol
Funny that “awesome” was declared dead here half a decade ago. Seems the news hasn’t caught on. However, the problem isn’t awesome, per se. Rather, it’s applying awesome – or any similarly exuberant word – to mundane stuff (as noted in the original post). Like when the cashier at Starbuck’s says “awesome” when you order a café latte. In that case, no synonym on Mr. Buckley’s list applies. The appropriate response is “okay” or “thanks” (or something comparable). I’d find “excellent,” “stupendous,” or “Kryptonian” to be just as annoying.
IBeHereForYou has superb followers 🙂
I’m not sure it’s caught on – the thing about ‘Awesome’ being dead. Seeing as it was declared dead half a decade ago as Curmodgeon mentioned.
Oh well, I guess it will just have to ‘fade’ out. For now, lets keep up this, outstanding list!
Another word for awesome, great.
Great read! Love it! Make Love Not War!
You brought me way back when daddy used to make me “look it up” instead of giving me the answer. Helps to remember that way.
Knowledge is Power!
Peace Out! ✌
Hi. Im searching for good word to name after my body scrub. Is anyone have some idea for me to choose the right name? I prefer something funky yet classy. If anyone have some idea. Please email me at email@example.com
I wish it were true that the ‘awesome’ word had withered away but it seems to have become ever more popular in the UK, with no signs of decline whatsoever.
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Bodacious is becoming the next overused word around here. Kids say “that’s bode!” for short.
Brian, love this blog! You even got a chuckle from me. I wanted to just put Lol! But it’s dead also. Another word I think needs renaming is blog. The word reminds me of something boring, but there are many interesting blogs and yours is just that. I would love to have alternatives to lol. Thanks for the list of undead words.
Guala Guala #G-eazy
Thanx for giving those words.i think i like kryptonian a lot.and my words for you are humongous and zhaang hope you dig it.you’re my friend from now.keep coming up with new words for the obsolete.
Hmm wicked and funkadelic? I live AWESOME.
I’m the “awesome” lady at work. I agree, I catch myself saying about too many situations sometimes. I knew I needed to sow down. Otherwise, the word loses its meaning, and I won’t be taken as seriously. I wouldn’t want to be a joke. So, one day I just used different inflections, hilarious. Then tried harder to find other descriptive words. It’s all good.
I also say “Nice!” a lot.
Thank you for stupendous list!
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious of course! also i just realized that this was posted 6 years ago. (it’s still helpful!)
I wish you had been right when writing “awesome is dead”. In the six years that have past since you shared your thoughts on the matter, “awesome” (and its bastard child “amazing”) have flourished and gone “viral”. We’re in the darkest period of our language, “like, ever”.
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I (Baby Boomer) make greeting cards for hospitalized kids, so need to know what is current slang or idiom for “You’re great/best/awesome/super/special/terrific/cool” etc. or “You rock” etc. Or which of the above words would be acceptable to kids. Thanks!
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A very dear friend of mine expresses her gratitude by often using the word, Radical…just another word to add to your listed
means to great to be expressed in words!
You amazed me with your demonstration of verbiage. Could you teach to to describe things. Thanks
I’m writing for a couple reasons.
One: I remember when Awesome supossidly shot to fame. It seemed somewhere around ‘84 -ish, same time as all the Valley Girl gobbledygook.
Damn! That is an Awesome word!
Sorry, had to make you squirm a little! Bwahahaha!
Anyway, truth be told, That IS a(n) “fill in the blank” word!
There’s hella lotta words out there you can pick on, mine is because of a trip to London in ‘91.
But let me first say without a doubt the best city I have ever been to since. I haven’t traveled nearly as much as I have wanted, but London truly stands out as a pinnacle trip.More on that later maybe.
The one thing that got under my skin was the word Brilliant!
Everywhere I went, which was mostly to evdrty club with what I hoped would be the latest and greatest band or outstanding nightclub in the universe. Just cause that’s what I was into and London has long been a hub of that action. And I’m sure still is, just different somehow I’m sure. Like whether every other person asked how a show or club was, it was Brilliant! Or the much more spirited approach “Oi mate! Fu$@en Brilliant!!! “
Oh wait! That last one was me!?
I’m pretty sure I was just trying to fit in somehow 😛
Someone clue me in, is using emoticons cool or stupid? Whack or not just cool, but somethings other than “that word”! Ahhhhh!!!
Nah! Awesome is still cool with me still, but your list truly is awesome! 😛
And that’s fo-shizzle bee-otch!
I’m just a goofy older white dude having s little word fun.
Peace out! yo
Awe snap, just membered I said “a couple of reasons I was writing”!
I forget the other part … snark!
K, I’m out
Nope, I’m back. Flipping through comments below before I post, I spied Funkadelic!
Now that is a word without match! It is stellar, stupendous, and Snottybootiebigbuttdeliciouswickedness!
Just because George Clinton and gang invented writing just like that!
I just made that one up, but ya dig?
That’s kind of how they talked too.
I’m also a big time lover and geek about music from the ‘60s till pretty much now, though limited now mostly to HardStyle if anybody is down with those slammin’ techno tunes.
OK, now I really have written way too much. Back to my life, bye.
Wow, this list is awesome!
U forget the word fabulous .which is also called …fab..😉😉
How about cool, radical, tubular, steller, nice, sweet, Lit, fresh
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DUDE!!! you forgot to put…. ME!!!
no just kidding SWEET
that was me; I’m a Canadian Dog!!!!!!!!! 😉
and INCREDIBLE, and UNBELIEVABLE, and INSANE
I love the name Gold
P.S you don’t have to write this down cuz its’ too long
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hi there; hope your world is okay and doing good… I did not consult my trusty pocket Thesaurus but, how about “Memorable”?
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