an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like:
in awe of God; in awe of great political figures.
Archaic. power to inspire fear or reverence.
Obsolete. fear or dread.
to inspire with awe.
to influence or restrain by awe.
Historical Examples

He had a notebook in his hand—that terrible weapon which awes even the London cabman.
The Croxley Master: A Great Tale Of The Prize Ring Arthur Conan Doyle

Surely it can’t be merely his habit;——there’s something in him that awes me.
The Belle’s Stratagem Hannah Cowley

Then comes the dark cell, an experience which awes the boldest.
Nevermore Rolf Boldrewood

Hence, while the one pleases, the other awes and subdues us.
Mental Philosophy: Including the Intellect, Sensibilities, and Will Joseph Haven

Blake on the wing has a strange beauty, a swift, direct and strenuous flight that thrills and awes the imaginative spectator.
William Blake Irene Langridge

The majesty of Night is so contagious, it awes, it inspires.
Vendetta Honore de Balzac

With all this, I affect a grave and serious air, that awes and imposes upon them.
An Account Of The Customs And Manners Of The Micmakis And Maricheets Savage Nations, Now Dependent On The Government Of Cape-Breton Antoine Simon Maillard

The beauty and boldness of the scenery on either side alternately enchants and awes.
The Bay State Monthly, Volume 3, No. 2 Various

To show fear, is to whet an Indian’s appetite for blood: coolness confounds and awes him when anything will.
Eleven Years in the Rocky Mountains and Life on the Frontier Frances Fuller Victor

Is it, thought I, the shadow of a sinister catastrophe that already projects over and awes, appalls him?
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, No. XXIII.–April, 1852.–Vol. IV. Various

overwhelming wonder, admiration, respect, or dread
(archaic) power to inspire fear or reverence
(transitive) to inspire with reverence or dread

c.1300, earlier aghe, c.1200, from a Scandinavian source, e.g. Old Norse agi “fright;” from Proto-Germanic *agiz- (cf. Old English ege “fear,” Old High German agiso “fright, terror,” Gothic agis “fear, anguish”), from PIE *agh-es- (cf. Greek akhos “pain, grief”), from root *agh- “to be depressed, be afraid” (see ail). Current sense of “dread mixed with veneration” is due to biblical use with reference to the Supreme Being. Awe-inspiring is recorded from 1814.

c.1300, from awe (n.); Old English had egan (v.). Related: Awed; awing.


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