Thursday, 16 June 2011


I am beginning to hate the word 'awesome', with a passion!

How can I be so animated by a word?  Well I'm not, but I resent its use, and try as I can, I can't think of a single instance where there would not be a better choice.

It has no descriptive power and seems to be used as a place holder for a superlative adjective which the speaker can't be bothered to think of. It's this capacity for the word to dumb-down the articulation of the speaker which I resent.  Life and language are rich, powerful and colourful.  The word 'awesome' is mid-grey, colourless, non-descriptive and above all thoughtless.  It could be anything: 'blah' would do just as well.  "Oh your shoes are just blah" says precisely as much as "Oh your shoes are just awesome".  In either case it gives an impression of being disingenuous; of having to say something positive but having nothing positive to say, except perhaps that we have seen 91210.

Just imagine what we could say in its place to describe 'awesome' shoes.  We could say something like: creative; thought provoking; imaginative; beautiful; elaborate; colourful; stylish; unique; fashionable; stunning; irreverent; sexy; outrageous; delightfully expensive;... you get the idea I'm sure.  And if it's not shoes, the possibilities increase considerably.

But what if you want to describe the shoes being so singularly unique that they inspire genuine awe? Then they are truly 'awe inspiring'.

I can see no point in the word 'awesome' at all.


  1. I, like many others, use the word awesome to describe something that exceeds the normal wow-factor. Often used to encourage the talker to continue if telling a story.

    I realise many older generations always see this almost as a show of lack of discipline, or culture. But the reality is that view is outdated.

    The generations that 'awesome' became popular with have grown up, and the word has more definition than it once did.

    "It's this capacity for the word to dumb-down the articulation of the speaker which I resent"

    - The speaker hasnt been dumbed down my friend, your opinion is the only thing that has changed.

    Cheers, (Do you hate that too?)

    Spyda (IQ: 139)


  2. Hi Spida, Sorry I didn't see your comment when you posted it, so am very late in responding. Of course you are correct, I was rather venting my spleen in a rather over-critical way. Of course language evolves, and that is to be welcomed. I'm not as much of a curmudgeon as I may seem. And I say 'cheers' a lot! Thanks for your comments, Billy! :-)

  3. See also: