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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Awful


AWFUL, adjective [awe and full.]

1. That strikes with awe; that fills with profound reverence; as the awful majesty of Jehovah.

2. That fills with terror and dread; as the awful approach of death.

3. Struck with awe; scrupulous.

A weak and awful reverence for antiquity.

Shakespeare uses it for worshipful, inspiring respect by authority or dignity.

Our common people use this word in the sense of frightful, ugly, detestable.