Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

AWSOME, AWESOME, AWSUM, adj. and adv. The adj. is chiefly Sc. (N.E.D.) and the adv. wholly so. [′ɑ:səm Sc.; ′:səm em. and wm.Sc.; ɒ′:səm sm.Sc.]

1. adj.

(1) Used in Sc. as in St.Eng. in the sense of inspiring fear. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1824  Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
He was sic an awsome body, that naebody cared to anger him.
wm.Sc. 1868  W. Motherwell in Laird of Logan 298:
What an awsum weight of duty and dignity [etc.]!

(2) (Like awfu' and Eng. awful, an intensive epithet,) great; terrible, unpleasant, bad. Lnk. 1838  J. Morrison M'Ilwham Papers Letter ii. 15:
He coupit the luggie an' the scaddin' brose aboot the neck an' face o' the puir thing, an' left yer namesake in an awsome pickel.

2. adv.

(1) In a dreadful manner; so as to cause fear. Rnf. 1790  A. Wilson Poet. Works, The Miser (1846) 55:
Whiles rumlin' owre his box't-up pelf, Or chappin' awsome at his winnocks.

(2) Very, exceedingly. Cf. Awfu'. Kcb. 1895  S. R. Crockett Bog-Myrtle 39:
She's an awesome still lassie.

[Awe, n. + -some.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Awsome adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down