I confess. I’ve got a thing about this word “awesome.” It is abused, overused, misused, folded, spindled, mutilated, and beaten to death! The traditional definition is, according to dictionary.com, “inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear.” I might add that awesome implies something mysterious, breathtaking, otherworldly, difficult to imagine and beyond comprehension.
Of course, it is now used as slang for anything that is impressive, or kinda sorta impressive….or something we are too lazy to describe using other words. It has become the default adjective when so many other words would be more appropriate: interesting, attractive, lucky, serendipitous, intriguing, entertaining, and so on.
In the spirit of saving a majestic word from its dumbing-down, I would like to offer up my user’s guide on what does and does not constitute awesome.
Man’s ability to learn language and form words = awesome.
Jenny’s new tongue piercing = not so awesome.
The invention of the wheel = awesome.
Tim’s new set of roller blades = not so awesome.
The complexity of our economic system = awesome.
Finding a quarter in the cushions of the couch = not so awesome.
The power and grandeur of our sun to nourish life = awesome.
Sue’s bronzed look from being half-baked at a tanning salon = not so awesome.
The intricacy of a spider’s web = awesome.
Custom settings on my web browser = not so awesome.
The Diary of Anne Frank = awesome.
The comings and goings of the Kardashian family = not so awesome.
The United States Constitution = awesome.
This blog post = not so awesome.