From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishawfulaw‧ful1 /ˈɔːfəl $ ˈɒː-/ ●●●S1 adjective1BADUNPLEASANTvery bad or unpleasant syn terribleThe weather was awful.He is a pretty awful driver.That fridge smells awful.The last six months have been awful for her.I’ve stopped believing most of what he says. Isn’t that awful?I’m sure Suzy is dead but the awful thing is not knowing how it happened.► see thesaurus at bad, horrible2[only before noun] spokenVERY used to emphasize how much or how good, bad etc something isAn awful lot of people (=a large number of people) died in the war.He made me feel an awful fool.3 →look/feel awful4literaryADMIRE making you feel great respect or fear —awfulness noun [uncountable]GrammarAwful is not used with ‘very’. You say: It was a really awful experience.✗Don’t say: It was a very awful experience.
Examples from the Corpus
awful• The souptastedawful.• At 300dpi the qualityachieved with photographs can generally be described as poor to awful.• I felt awful about not being able to help.• It sounds awful, but I just can't stand his parents.• a really awfulconcert• The curtains in the photo are an awful fifties maroon, the color of driedblood.• He truly represents an awful lot from a developmentalstandpoint.• You seem to take up an awful lot of energy and time.• My father and Ernest were safe, but the awfulnews of Elizabeth's deathkilled my father.• But those are still awful numbers.• an awful power• Philip Seymour Hoffman blows them all away with a scene-stealing blackcomic turn as Dickie's awful preppie buddy.• Then as the electricdoorsswished open and three policeofficersjumped out on to the ballast, the awful realisation dawned.awful thing• The most awful thing has happened.• You have no idea of what awful things have happened here.• If I pulled one book out, lord knows what awful thing might result.• He told me he was called Willie, but I though that was a jollyawful thing to do to anyone.• And the truly awful thing was, Alistair was right.• The awful thing was that, as I said it, I began to have seriousdoubts about it.• The awful thing was that it wasn't over, Jean knew that.awfulawful2 adverb [+adj/adverb]VERY American English spoken veryThat kid’s awful cute, with her red curls.