Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on Ragan.com in 2011. For those unaware of the anti-awesome movement, here’s a reminder.
“Awesome” must be the most overused word in the English language.
So let’s stop using it as our default every time we are too lazy, busy, insecure, stupid or whatever to think of a more original or relevant word.
Let’s stop using it because we’re middle-aged business people who think it makes us look cool. It doesn’t.
Let’s stop using it because we are so riveted to the game control, iPhone or other obsessions that we begrudge the brain cells required to process language.
Scary awful meanings
Despite the monotonous ubiquity, most people seem unaware of the full meaning. In addition to inspiring joyful awe, “awesome” can mean inspiring terror, as in “the awesome power of the sea.”
Not only that, the word “awful,” I discovered, is actually a synonym for “awesome,” providing you communicate in an olde English dialect. Gee, I’m starting to sound like Grammar Girl. Back to the anti-awesome movement I’m trying to muster.