Is awesome awesome?

Awesome stampLet’s talk about the word ‘awesome’, shall we?

I got a note from a Claxonette reader this week who took umbrage with my use of the word ‘awesome’. She said:

A fine writer and storyteller would NOT use a word as insipid and tiresomely worn out as “awesome.” 

Okay, well, don’t know if I’m a “fine writer and storyteller”, but I am gal who loves the word awesome. And here’s why.

Awesome means causing feelings of wonder and awe. Given the world we live in, couldn’t we all use a little more wonder and awe? I believe so. Thus, I use the word awesome. A lot.

I thought long and hard about whether I’d include awesome in my Personal Lexicon. People tend to love it or hate it. (Maybe it should be listed under the ‘Use with Caution’ category of the 2014 List of Words that Wow as a way of acknowledging that it has its foibles?)

People’s reactions to awesome are, in fact, so strong, that when I teach people how to create their Personal Lexicon, I use awesome as an example of a word that will either define their lexicon or not. I had a student who said: “I’d rather be caught dead than use that word!” at the same time as another exclaimed, “I use awesome all the time!”

There isn’t a lot of neutral ground with awesome. And that’s okay. When it comes to using language to increase your impact, you don’t want neutral. You want to use words to differentiate yourself, your cause, your organization.

Awesome isn’t for everyone. And I respect that. But I, for one, think awesome is awesome.



Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?