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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.
Contemporary Examples

I watched in awe as he virtually caromed off the walls of the classrooms and hallways.
Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve’s Epic Friendship and the Greatest Williams Story Ever Told Marlow Stern August 11, 2014

Another Tylenol and a tranquilizer three hours later don’t do the trick and the demons do a shock and awe attack.
The Bag Lady Writes a Book Alexandra Penney February 18, 2010

She was the girl to impress at Wellesley—and we were all in awe of her.
Lynn Sherr Remembers College Friend Nora Ephron Lynn Sherr June 28, 2012

The shared feelings, the bubbling emotion, the awe: she became an experience.
Bow Down, Bitches: How Beyoncé Turned an Elevator Brawl Into a Perfect Year Kevin Fallon December 30, 2014

I study his every move and sound with awe and wonder, excited by even the smallest expression.
No Sex For Six Weeks After Giving Birth? It’s Too Long! Aurora Snow December 26, 2013

Historical Examples

Harvey always looked upon them with reverence, if not with awe.
The Whirlpool George Gissing

With an undefined feeling of awe, she looked in the countenance of her friend.
Philothea Lydia Maria Child

He found something mysterious, illusory, phantasmal about her which filled him with awe.
The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci Dmitry Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky

“Heads for her, tails for me,” he said, with some awe in his tone.
Punchinello, Vol. 1. No. 20, August 13, 1870 Various

It came though—the wonder and the awe: and I look back with pride upon that day.
At the Court of the Amr John Alfred Gray

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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  • Awe-inspiring

    causing awe; spectacular; magnificent: an awe-inspiring cathedral; an awe-inspiring sunset. Contemporary Examples John Luther Adams lives up to the title of his composition, capturing an oceanic torrent of sound in an awe-inspiring performance. The Best Albums of 2014 Ted Gioia December 12, 2014 “It was awe-inspiring to watch them even though we were opposed to […]

  • Awe-struck

    filled with awe. Historical Examples And Cora had turned sidewise in her seat next to him at the theatre and had looked up at him adoringly, awe-struck. Gigolo Edna Ferber Yes,” answered Henderson in an awe-struck voice, “Daubeny is dead. St. Winifred’s Frederic W. Farrar And she thrust the trembling, awe-struck children into the room […]

  • Awe-stricken

    filled with awe. Historical Examples At every station silent, awe-stricken crowds were gathered to question of the state of the beloved sufferer. T. De Witt Talmage T. De Witt Talmage She stood among them, amazed, awe-stricken, but not like one affrighted or dismayed. Curious, if True Elizabeth Gaskell Some of them were still chattering, staring […]

  • Aweary

    wearied or tired; fatigued. Historical Examples He said, “I am aweary, aweary, I wish these flies were dead.” Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 11, June 11, 1870 Various I am aweary, good strangers, I pray you lead me to her grave. A Tramp Abroad, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) I am aweary of these borrowed letters, […]

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