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very; extremely:
That was awfully nice of you. He’s awfully slow.
in a manner provoking censure, disapproval, or the like:
She behaved awfully all evening.

in a manner inspiring awe:
shouting awfully the dreaded curse.
in a manner expressing awe:
to stare awfully.

Contemporary Examples

(If you haven’t seen the ad starring his mixed-race son, check it out, it’s awfully good).
New York City: DeBlasio Running Away? Michael Tomasky August 27, 2013

It’s awfully hard for someone who lives in the world of politics to resist the physics of the presidential tug.
Mike Huckabee’s Loss Is Ron Paul’s Gain Mark McKinnon May 14, 2011

To the less patient reader, however, the absent is awfully damn absent.
David Mamet’s Right Turn David Frum May 8, 2012

And Charlie Pierce is awfully depressed and worried about Yemen.
The Danger for Obama and a Question for You All Michael Tomasky September 12, 2012

Richard Porton says the film is as awfully made as factually confused.
Unlawful Killing: Cannes’ Princess Di Outrage Richard Porton May 12, 2011

Historical Examples

“awfully good of you to come in, sir,” he said, as he scrambled to his feet.
The Brass Bottle F. Anstey

“You’re awfully good, Tom,” she said and Tom’s heart swelled at the softness of her tone.
Tutors’ Lane Wilmarth Lewis

I was awfully interested in seeing how the goat and the clerk got on.
What Happened to Inger Johanne Dikken Zwilgmeyer

“You’d be most awfully disagreeable to live with,” he returned.
Teddy: Her Book Anna Chapin Ray

If you say she was awfully kind and gentle to you about it that might help a bit.
The Tower of Oblivion Oliver Onions

in an unpleasant, bad, or reprehensible manner
(informal) (intensifier): I’m awfully keen to come
(archaic) so as to express or inspire awe

c.1300, “so as to inspire reverence,” from awful + -ly (2). Meaning “dreadfully, so as to strike one with awe” is recorded from late 14c. As a simple intensifier, “very, exceedingly,” recorded from c.1830.


Very; very much: It’s awfully dark here


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