Awesome has not always been cool waves, stunning sunsets & killer concerts. Its root, awe, started out on the dark side.
Awe came from the Proto-Indo-European word agh-es, which grew into the Gothic word agis, fear or anguish, & its German cousin agiso, fright or terror. Awe entered Old English as ege, simply meaning fear. By the 1300s it had become aghe. Three centuries later, the gents who pulled together the King James Bible used awe to mean fear mixed with veneration, & it is those gents we can thank for awesome’s positive makeover.
Kevin Lawver, founder of Day of Awesmoness, tells us “People are awesome every day, but they frequently don't realize it, and their feats of awesomeness are rarely recognized.”
Join in on the fun. Go out into the world & be awesome.
But before you engage in your own brand of awesomnosity, please visit the comment section, & indulge me by explaining one positive action you’ll take this week to increase the general level of awesomeness in the world.
My thanks go out to this week’s sources the OED, Wordnik,, Etymonline, & Day of Awesomeness
I write for teens, narrate audio books, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.
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