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Do people actually use "ehrfürchtig!" to say awesome or is it old in usage?

If not, then what would be more in common usage? I've heard mostly toll, super, prima but what else is possible?

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Who claims that they do? Can you give some context? –  Carsten Schultz Jan 15 at 8:21
    
It comes up when you search "awesome" on Leo.org but I've never heard it said. I've made the mistake of learning a word thinking it meant what the dictionary said only to be told you'd never hear that in real life. –  user5105 Jan 15 at 8:52
    
Do not use dict.leo. I only take it as a fallback when I'm not satisfied with the results taken from prior research. I suggest using Collins and Pons. They both categorize the words and translations are spot on – most times. Further more, you should think of looking results up in a monolingual dictionary (Pons, Wiktionary) and do a back-translation and look what's the result. –  Em1 Jan 15 at 9:39
    
What Em1 said. Do not use dict.leo. Their translations are often wrong, or just awful. –  RQ' Jan 15 at 12:29
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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Well first of all to me as a native German there is a clear difference between "ehrfürchtig" and awesome. I would rather translate ehrfürchtig with something like reverent or awestruck.

In my opinion you would rather use the following as a equivalent to awesome.

super, toll as you pointed out correctly but also "unglaublich" (unbelievable) and "wunderbar" (wonderful). Now as you notice both of them already have a translation. Still, in such cases though it heavily depends on the context, you can use words like "unglaublich" to describe something really awesome.

Lets say you are seeing an awesome landscape.

Das ist wirklich eine unglaubliche Landschaft.

Or some friend found a job after searching for quite a while: (Its so awesome you finally found a job!)

Es ist wirklich wunderbar, dass du endlich einen Job gefunden hast.

Well and last but not least lets not forget the colloquial ones:

"Hammer!", "Geil!", "Krass!" for example.

You wont hear those from everyone but they still exist.

Hope that helps :)

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Großartig is another valid translation for awesome. –  Thorsten Dittmar Jan 15 at 5:34
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"unglaublich" kann auch mit "incredible" übersetzt werden. Dazu gibt es sogar einen Disney-Film ;) Mein persönlicher Liebling ist aber immer noch "atemberaubend". –  Vogel612 Jan 15 at 7:25
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To chime in with the others and add another aspect:

Note that "ehrfürchtig" never means "awesome". It describes the reaction to something that is awesome, NOT the fact that it is awesome. Leo and any other dictionaries that say otherwise are plain wrong.

The correct German equivalent (in a purely lexical sense) would be "ehrfurchtgebietend" (i.e. "demanding/causing awe"). Usage-wise, however, this is absolutely not equivalent to the casual "awesome" in English.

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ehrfürchtig wouldn't be used as an exclamation, and I've actually never read it in that context, even in old literature.

The exclamation Awesome! would usually be translated as Großartig! or Erstaunlich!, while the latter is rather used in the context of Amazing!.

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