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Awe Gone Is Like Literally Amazing

It’s “Like, Literally Amazing” How Sloppy Language Has Become

You know how you kids use the word “amazing,” like, all the time? Don’t. Witnessing your child’s birth is amazing. Your sandwich from Whole Foods is not “amazing.” Neither are the jeans Ashley just bought nor the top she wears with it.

The word “unbelievable” has lost all force. That’s why the kiddies and their adult imitators invented the word awesome. — Commentor BillH, 2014

Moments of real awe that overwhelm the soul are rare, but if you look closely at the miracle of creation in the macro or micro cosmos you can create such a moment almost at will. Real awe is front-loaded into the universe.

At the same time, those things of man that inspire awe diminish moment by moment under the unstoppable onslaught of the word “awesome.” The descent of the word “awesome” from a valuable modifier when describing an experience to the status of a brain fart is a classic example of how our “educated” illiterates destroy literacy.

I’ve had a few moments in my life where genuine awe shook me to the roots of my soul. Holding my daughter in my arms a moment after she was born comes to mind as does a time when I was very young, lying a field and looking up at the sky and the high cirrus glowing burnt orange in the fading rays of day. There were others as well, gifts given and grace notes. Common to all were an intake of breath and a feeling as if your heart had been grazed by a thought of God and forgot, for that moment, to beat. Matched up against all the torrent and cascade of moments though, this genuine awe was rare; it was one of the pearls beyond price, the shining instant of “Ah ha, so that’s what it’s all about.”

Not so today. Today awe is as common as clay. Today all things of man possess the awe of someness. The movie is awesome. The SmartCar is awesome. The candy bar is awesome. The cheeseburger is awesome. Today it would seem that every slice of tripe spun out of the crap factories of pop culture is awesome even though one note of the 9th Symphony would crush the entire oeuvre of Arrowsmith. My morning latte was described by the barrista as “awesome” when, like all our cornucopia of crapulous things described as such, it was quite mediocre, thank you.

I’m not sure when “awesome” died, but it was sometime in the very late, not-so-great, 20th century. You’d think it would be mummified by now, but no. Whenever someone so forgets to drive their mouth responsibly that the word “awesome” emerges it carries with it the stench of that slaughterhouse where perfectly good words go to die.

In a time when moments of true awe are needed to slake the parched post-modern lost souls, the intense trivialization of awe by the neutered generation is awesome.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Dr. Jay July 6, 2018, 8:21 AM

    This was like an unbelievable post.

  • pbird July 6, 2018, 9:38 AM

    Ja, I give demerits for using the word “amazing”. This has been going on since about 1966 in my memory.

  • MIKE GUENTER July 6, 2018, 10:09 AM

    Holding your first child at birth… truly an amazing, awe inspiring moment in my life. Actually holding both of my daughters and handing them over to their mother in the operating room.

    Another awe inspiring moment for me and my current wife, was when our oldest granddaughter graduated with honors from Clemson University and she did it without any financial help from us and less than 10 grand in debt.

  • Harry July 6, 2018, 11:39 AM

    Like what a totally like mean post. Like the person who like wrote this is like literally Hitler.

  • Harry July 6, 2018, 11:40 AM

    I apologize. I may have left a “like” out of my previous response. I have to do a recount.

  • Vanderleun July 6, 2018, 11:52 AM

    Don’t apologize. It was like awesome.

  • ghostsniper July 6, 2018, 12:26 PM

    Remember when the word “gay” was awesome?
    Now it’s the perverted standard for an abused septic system…..

  • DrTedNelson July 6, 2018, 2:27 PM

    That post was amazing! Ok, I hate myself now.

  • Bunny July 6, 2018, 3:10 PM

    Could we please arrange a merciful death for “badass”, especially when describing women?

  • JoeDaddy July 7, 2018, 3:19 AM

    “I wuz like…I wuz like”…ad nauseum…another shitcom phrase that’s become nauseating as it grates on the ear for years now. ‘Ya’ know?’ As does ‘aWWWSome!’, which has been over-cliched for a decade. I wuz like thinking much of the stupid phrases and adjectives started with the shitcoms ‘Friends’, ‘Seinfeld’, perv-‘Cosby’, et al. They all sucked, but added to the decline.

  • John the River July 7, 2018, 5:25 AM

    And just thought I’d mention, my name is not… “Dude”.

  • ghostsniper July 7, 2018, 6:28 AM

    I invent new words all the time. Mostly 2 or more words blended together.
    Coming back from the big city of Columbus I told my wife, trying to purchase 4″ casters at Menard’s was exhaustperating. Exhausting and exasperating at the same time, ‘cept more so. This is a 45 min trip each time and the 3rd one in the last 3 weeks and again they only had 1 rigid and 1 swivel/lock, and that’s after I told the manager about it twice. The website shows they have 9 and 7 of them in stock, and no phonecalls don’t work neither – again, exhaustingly exasperating.

    As a lifelong creative endeavor person with what would probably be diagnosed as an over the top case of ADHD or whatever it’s called, and a self employed thinker of all things, I have learned that I cannot change others but I can change me if I am willing to open my eyes and mind to all the considerations and ramifications. So, this is a 12 part project I started last fall and with 4 parts completed, using the Menard’s 4″ casters, and 8 parts yet to be done I need these casters. As I said, I can’t change Menard’s but I can change me, so what should I have done differently to avoid this problem? Well, since the project was committed to AutoCAD plans and all costs were known in advance, I should have went ahead and purchased all of the needed materials right from the beginning. Incidently, exhausting and numerous web searches have not shown viable alternatives of places to purchase these casters. Because the height of the casters is crucial I can’t change brands. Other places carry the precise models I need but the cost difference is astounding. Perhaps THAT is why Menard’s is not restocking them. They discovered they are losing money on them. If that’s the case, why not just raise the price? I could live with that. But if I have to start all over with another brand/size of casters that means the 4 sets I have already purchased and installed will need to be removed and the money unrecoverable at this point. Though I could use them on a future project down the line.

    From this point on, in anything I am involved in, I’m going to try to see the bigger picture, and expect failure from all entities, and gauge my behavior accordingly. Over and over again, as this continent slides lower and lower, the JIT model is proving itself a total impossibility as no one can be depended upon over the long haul.

  • Rick Darby July 7, 2018, 7:47 AM

    Can I please add to the perverted words list “stunning”? As in “her stunning new outfit” … “he was stunned to hear” … “stunning view of Mt. Rushless.”

    Primary dictionary definition of stun: “knock unconscious or into a dazed or semiconscious state.”

    Okay, you guys, we’re good now.

  • JiminAlaska July 7, 2018, 9:46 AM

    Actually much of what surrounds us is amazing and awe inspiring if we just stop and take a breath and take a look.

  • Blondi Utronki July 7, 2018, 11:17 AM

    I am so glad you brought this up. Over usage of the words amazing, literally and create drive me nuts. Another one I would add to the list is rescue. As in, ” my dog is a rescue.” How do you know? The dog could hate your guts and wishes you had left him where he was. That way he wouldn’t have to listen to spout off about how literally amazing you are when you created the lame ass dinner of kale chips for yourself.

  • Cascadian July 8, 2018, 12:01 PM

    “Thats what I’m talking about!”

    This is too easy, the degradation of culture moves on apace.

  • julie June 1, 2021, 8:26 AM

    Gerard wrote, “I’ve had a few moments in my life where genuine awe shook me to the roots of my soul.”

    That’s just it, isn’t it? How many people today have ever been shaken to the roots of their soul? It’s not a bad thing to find joy in the little good things of life, but when there is nothing in the world bigger or more important than oneself, well, where is there room for genuine awe?

  • Sam L. June 1, 2021, 8:27 AM

    I’ve seen a few women who had badddddddddddd asses, but have been able to forget them. Brain Bleach RULES!!!

  • Mike Austin June 1, 2021, 9:17 AM

    I find it both amusing and annoying that this decay of language has affected whole classes of adults in every part of the nation. There is hardly any escape from such drivel whether written or spoken. For those desiring a respite I recommend the Classical historians, the dialogue between Bogart and Greenstreet in “The Maltese Falcon” and anything by Hemmingway.

  • gwbnyc June 1, 2021, 9:19 AM

    “awfuggit” -Wanda the Dancing Frankfurter

  • PA Cat June 1, 2021, 9:28 AM

    C’mon, man! It’s . . . the thing, you know?

  • James ONeil June 1, 2021, 9:32 AM

    None the less I’m still quite amazed to awake in the morning and find I’m still here, pretty awesome!

    87 year old best friend of mine for a long time didn’t awaken 3 mornings ago, not amazing.

  • Mike Anderson June 1, 2021, 9:39 AM

    Awesome is what it is, dawg. Or you can kick it Old School and be cool, fool.

    I started a self-education program half a century ago, forcing myself to speak in complete sentences devoid of jargon or slang. While I haven’t become a wildly successful orator, I have at least slowed my mouth down so it seldom runs ahead of my brain. And public speaking holds few fears for me any more. Now that’s amazing.

  • rabbit tobacco June 1, 2021, 11:19 AM
  • PA Cat June 1, 2021, 2:09 PM

    How could we leave out Casey Stengel? “The Mets are gonna be amazing.” Source: San Francisco Examiner, September 30, 1975.

  • lh June 1, 2021, 2:37 PM



  • Margot June 1, 2021, 3:29 PM

    “I mean…, you know”. I mean, I mean I mean! What do they mean? “Reach out and raise awareness!” Don’t reach! I guess I’m old.

  • Quent June 1, 2021, 5:07 PM

    Three words which should be consigned to Hell: “anyways,” “majorly,” “signage.”

  • EX-Californian Pete June 1, 2021, 5:35 PM

    awe·​some | \ ˈȯ-səm
    Definition of awesome

    1a : inspiring awe an awesome task/responsibility a place of awesome beauty
    b informal : terrific, extraordinary had an awesome time at the concert

    OR- When you are invited (at the last minute) to attend a closed, private estate auction after having a hoot of a time with new & old friends, see items for purchase that you usually only dream about nowadays, reluctantly decide to whup out the rarely-used credit card to make a bid, and then make the winning bid.
    Then, later picking up your items with a borrowed trailer that throws an axle bearing halfway home, having to spend a night in a fleabag hotel for the night before replacing the bearing (and fender) out-of-pocket the next morning, and when arriving home, finding something “extra” packed in the trailer that somehow was overlooked (or wasn’t realized) by the winning bidder. Maybe loaded in there by mistake by an auction house employee.

    A wooden crate. With Russian lettering on it. Containing 10 beautiful ‘items’ made in 1952, unfired, still packed in cosmoline.


  • Snowgoose June 1, 2021, 6:12 PM

    Wrong use of “crapulous.” Webster (1943): from Latin crapula – intoxication 1. Intemperate in drinking or eating. 2. Sick from excessive indulgence in liquor.

    This a wondrously descriptive adjective and should be used appropriately and judiciously.

  • Nobody Atall June 2, 2021, 5:12 AM

    You amaze me!

  • TwoDogs June 2, 2021, 9:14 AM

    My offspring are 37 and 31 years old. I want to put a shock collar on them so I can zap them every time “like” falls out of their pieholes. Forget COVID, “like” will be the death of us all.

  • Diana June 2, 2021, 1:38 PM

    I think the reason common people say words for explain “like” “amazing” and such, is because they have a very underdeveloped vocabulary. People, open up a book and read!

  • Fletcher Christian June 3, 2021, 7:52 AM

    Oh, I don’t know; some human things can be called amazing and/or awesome.
    In no particular order:
    First steps on the Moon.
    Numerous photographs from various space probes.
    The docking scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
    Yes’s “Awakening”.
    Burj Khalifah. (Shame it had to be built on behalf of barbarians…)
    The Mandelbrot Set. (A look into infinity…)
    And of course various books. The Origin of Species, Newton’s Principia…

  • ghostsniper June 3, 2021, 8:35 AM

    I unassed the rack this morning, it was like awesome.
    Here it is noon and I’m ripping up a tuna sando, it’s amazing dood.

  • Dirk June 4, 2021, 7:01 PM

    Fucking Retard! Is still fashionable!

  • Callmelennie June 6, 2021, 8:43 AM

    “Crushing the entire oeuvre of Aerosmith”

    What an awesome turn of phrase!!!