Language
Fact-checked

At LanguageHumanities, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Does It Mean If Something Is "Awe Inspiring"?

An "awe-inspiring" entity evokes profound wonder and admiration, often due to its grandeur, beauty, or power. It's a feeling that transcends the ordinary, leaving us with a sense of the sublime. Such experiences can shift perspectives, reminding us of the vastness and mystery of the world. Have you ever encountered something truly awe-inspiring? Share your moment with us.
Alicia Sparks
Alicia Sparks

If something is awe inspiring, it inspires awe or similar states of being such as wonder, admiration, or deep appreciation. Various subjects, from situations and events to actual tangible objects, can inspire awe for people. Also, things that inspire awe can affect all senses, not just sight. So, a person can hear something that inspires awe, such as a piece of music, or can taste something that inspires awe, such as can a gourmet meal or a national delicacy with which he is not familiar. People commonly use a variety of different words and phrases that are synonymous with awe inspiring, such as magnificent, overwhelming, and impressive.

This idiom is one of those sayings that presents its meaning in its name. When something is awe inspiring, it inspires awe. The generally accepted definition of awe is the emotion comprised of wonder, amazement, and respect or reverence. So, when someone experiences something that is awe inspiring, he has experienced something that has inspired one or more of the various emotions and states of being that define awe. Of course, what inspires awe for one person might not inspire awe for another person.

Many people find beautiful natural scenes awe inspiring.
Many people find beautiful natural scenes awe inspiring.

Natural scenes often inspire awe for those who see them. For example, a person might describe a beautiful sunset or sunrise, an especially large full moon, or a peaceful snow-covered mountain as awe inspiring. Other more permanent nature scenes, such as America’s Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls or Nepal’s Mount Everest, also inspire awe.

Often, historical monuments, mysteries, and things we do not fully understand inspire wonder and amazement. For example, people might find Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt awe inspiring. The Colosseum in Rome and the Great Wall of China might inspire wonder.

The Pyramids of Giza are considered to be an inspiring work of human engineering.
The Pyramids of Giza are considered to be an inspiring work of human engineering.

Of course, scenes and events more personal to the viewer can inspire awe, too. For example, experiencing the birthing process, seeing a baby take her first steps, and watching the child graduate from college can all inspire awe for parents and other loved ones. Watching a fellow human or even an animal overcome a physical disability often inspires awe.

The mysterious nature of Stonehenge continues to awe contemporary visitors.
The mysterious nature of Stonehenge continues to awe contemporary visitors.

Numerous other words and idiomatic expressions convey the same or a similar meaning as awe inspiring. Such words and sayings include breathtaking, wondrous, hair-raising, heart-stirring, and mind-blowing. Perhaps the most commonly used, and misused, synonym is awesome. Technically, awesome is an adjective that describes something that inspires or is worthy of awe. Contemporary uses of the word, especially as slang or during informal speaking or writing, often pair it with anything that the speaker or writer defines as impressive, exciting, or “cool.”

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Many people find beautiful natural scenes awe inspiring.
      By: Aaron Ostrovsky
      Many people find beautiful natural scenes awe inspiring.
    • The Pyramids of Giza are considered to be an inspiring work of human engineering.
      By: Hartmut Lerch
      The Pyramids of Giza are considered to be an inspiring work of human engineering.
    • The mysterious nature of Stonehenge continues to awe contemporary visitors.
      By: imacture
      The mysterious nature of Stonehenge continues to awe contemporary visitors.
    • Natural landscapes often inspire awe.
      By: bierchen
      Natural landscapes often inspire awe.
    • Vatican City, which houses several art museums as well as St. Peter's Basilica, is considered one of the most beautiful locations in Europe.
      By: SergiyN
      Vatican City, which houses several art museums as well as St. Peter's Basilica, is considered one of the most beautiful locations in Europe.
    • The striking landscape of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park has been used as a backdrop for many movies about the Wild West, including several by director John Ford.
      By: dade72
      The striking landscape of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park has been used as a backdrop for many movies about the Wild West, including several by director John Ford.
    • Natural sights like Niagara Falls can inspire awe.
      By: karlsson_photo
      Natural sights like Niagara Falls can inspire awe.
    • A natural sight like the Grand Canyon can be awe inspiring.
      By: sumikophoto
      A natural sight like the Grand Canyon can be awe inspiring.
    • A sunset on a country road might be awe inspiring.
      By: Alta Oosthuizen
      A sunset on a country road might be awe inspiring.
    • A particularly large full moon is a natural event that might inspire awe.
      By: tomreichner
      A particularly large full moon is a natural event that might inspire awe.