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[fab-yuh-luh s] /ˈfæb yə ləs/

almost impossible to believe; incredible.
Informal. exceptionally good or unusual; marvelous; superb:
a fabulous bargain; a fabulous new house.
told about in ; purely imaginary:
the fabulous exploits of Hercules.
known about only through myths or legends.
almost unbelievable; astounding; legendary: fabulous wealth
(informal) extremely good: a fabulous time at the party
of, relating to, or based upon fable: a fabulous beast

early 15c., “mythical, legendary,” from Latin fabulosus “celebrated in fable; rich in myths,” from fabula (see fable (n.)).

Sense of “incredible” first recorded c.1600. Slang shortening fab first recorded 1957; popularized in reference to The Beatles, c.1963.

Fabulous (often contracted to fab(s)) and fantastic are also in that long list of words which boys and girls use for a time to express high commendation and then get tired of, such as, to go no farther back than the present century, topping, spiffing, ripping, wizard, super, posh, smashing. [Gower’s 1965 revision of Fowler’s “Modern English Usage”]

Related: Fabulously.


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