Used to emphasize the extent of something, esp. something unpleasant or negative
I've made an awful fool of myself
(of a person) Very unwell, troubled, or unhappy
I felt awful for being so angry with him
you look awful—you should go and lie down
Inspiring reverential wonder or fear
we're an awful long way from the main road
terribly: used as intensifiers; "terribly interesting"; "I'm awful sorry"
atrocious: exceptionally bad or displeasing; "atrocious taste"; "abominable workmanship"; "an awful voice"; "dreadful manners"; "a painful performance"; "terrible handwriting"; "an unspeakable odor came sweeping into the room"
causing fear or dread or terror; "the awful war"; "an awful risk"; "dire news"; "a career or vengeance so direful that London was shocked"; "the dread presence of the headmaster"; "polio is no longer the dreaded disease it once was"; "a dreadful storm"; "a fearful howling"; "horrendous ...
nasty: offensive or even (of persons) malicious; "in a nasty mood"; "a nasty accident"; "a nasty shock"; "a nasty smell"; "a nasty trick to pull"; "Will he say nasty things at my funeral?"- Ezra Pound
awed: inspired by a feeling of fearful wonderment or reverence; "awed by the silence"; "awful worshippers with bowed heads"
frightful: extreme in degree or extent or amount or impact; "in a frightful hurry"; "spent a frightful amount of money"
amazing: inspiring awe or admiration or wonder; "New York is an amazing city"; "the Grand Canyon is an awe-inspiring sight"; "the awesome complexity of the universe"; "this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath"- Melville; "Westminster Hall's awing majesty, ...
(awfully) dreadfully: of a dreadful kind; "there was a dreadfully bloody accident on the road this morning"
(awfulness) a quality of extreme unpleasantness
"Awful" is the twelfth single, and also third EP, by American alternative rock band Hole, from their third studio album Celebrity Skin. ...
Oppressing with fear or horror; appalling, terrible; Inspiring awe; filling with profound reverence or respect; profoundly impressive; Struck or filled with awe; Terror-stricken; Worshipful; reverential; law-abiding; Exceedingly great; usually applied intensively; Very bad; Very, extremely; ...
(awfulness) The quality of striking with awe, or with reverence; dreadfulness; solemnity; as, the awfulness of this sacred place; The state of being struck with awe; a spirit of solemnity; profound reverence
full of awe, awe inspiring, a compliment.
is a related term, and its history is equally interesting and even more changeable, but this blog post is already long enough. I wrote a little about it here, if you’re curious. And if you’d like to share your thoughts below, that would be awesome.