That’s fantastic! (Words meaning ‘very good’)

by Kate Woodford

Credit: Getty images
Credit: Getty

We all need words and phrases for saying that things are good or great – that we find them nice or very nice. This post aims to give you more ways to say that you like, or really like, something.

Starting with a very frequent adjective; lovely is used a lot in UK English for generally good things and experiences: That’s a lovely dress you’re wearing!/It was so lovely to see you again!

Moving on to words that express stronger approval; two very common adjectives meaning ‘very surprising’ are also used slightly informally to mean ‘extremely good’. Incredible and amazing are both used to praise things, sometimes describing a thing that is so good, you cannot quite believe it: It was an amazing performance – I’ve never seen anything like it./He was an incredible artist – almost certainly a genius. Other strong adjectives that are commonly used to mean ‘extremely good’ are wonderful(UK) marvellous/(US) marvelous and fabulous: He’s a wonderful cook./It’s a marvellous story./The food was fabulous. The word excellent is also used a lot, often describing something that is of extremely good quality: The service was excellent./I thought the acting was excellent. Similarly, superb is used to describe something of the highest quality: a superb album/It was a superb goal.

Of course, there are more informal adjectives too that are used to ‘great’. ‘Fantastic’ is one and ‘brilliant’ (in UK English) is another: The view was just fantastic./We were lucky – the weather was brilliant. Two informal, approving adjectives that are used especially by younger people are cool and awesome: “It’s a really cool place to hang out.” “She has an awesome voice.”

Other adjectives describe things which are very unusual because they are so good, for example exceptional: The care I received from the hospital staff was exceptional – it couldn’t have been better. Outstanding also refers to something that is very much better than others of the same type: All in all, it was an outstanding performance by Messi. The adjectives remarkable and extraordinary, meanwhile, describe things that are extremely good, having a quality that is unique, or at least, very special: her extraordinary beauty/Even as a young girl, she had a remarkable singing voice.

Of course, we also use idioms to say that things are very good. Something that is out of this world is extremely good:The food there is out of this world. If you say that something takes some beating, you mean it is so good that it is hard to improve on: That hotel would take some beating. Finally, someone or something that leaves someone or something standing is very much better than others of the same type: His voice is excellent – it leaves the others standing.

Have a fantastic week!

36 thoughts on “That’s fantastic! (Words meaning ‘very good’)

    1. Oleg Markin

      Although the separate words expressing good and great that you mention are easy for usage, at least for the Russian-speaking, I appreciate you have given an exhausting list of them and am especially grateful for idioms — these are the most difficult while valuable.

    2. Kate Woodford

      Yes, ‘terrific’ is also used to express approval. I hadn’t selected it because I thought it a little less frequent but you do hear it.

    1. Kate Woodford

      Yes, it’s one of those made-up words that you sometimes hear – a combination of ‘fantastic’ and ‘fabulous’.

  1. Hadeel Hammam

    English is incredibly rich language. Thank you, Kate for this outstanding post and I am waiting for the opposite, I mean bad and its sisters. but is it allowable to use anyone of them in any context? Can I say, for example, have an awesome day?

    1. Margi

      “Have a great day” would be better . It depends what they’re doing. E.g
      “I’m going to do something so exciting”
      ” have an awesome time”
      But as a general greeting, say nice , or if you particularly like them , lovely

    2. noticemesenpai6986

      Well try getitng your hands on a greek dictionary and try reading it.You will see the true meaning of “rich” language

    3. Vict

      If you want to talk about a rich language, learn vietnamese. All of its vocabularies and grammars are various enough to decrease your lifetime. Just a joke.

  2. Tatiana Balandina

    I know that “awesome” is used mainly by young people but in the States I heard young and old people use it.What about Britain? Do older people use it? Thank you.

    1. Kate Woodford

      Good question, Tatiana. I think it tends to be younger people who use it in the UK, (though I have a friend in his forties who uses it all the time).

  3. Thank you very much for this awesomely useful blog! I’m going to use it with my students.
    This is an evolution of my old habit of getting lost while reading the dictionary … 😉

  4. Lovely, wonderful, excellent are words I’ve always used.. But I’m now using cool and awesome… Yes I guess because it’s used a lot now especially in movies.
    Diana from Mexico

  5. Pingback: It’s Terrible! (Words that mean ‘bad’) | About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

  6. Zagorn

    I think that you should make like a huge exhausting list for those who are trying to find some words that will impress any kind of judge

  7. Zagorn

    Also the word “magnificent” can be used to describe something beautifull—-/Magnificent painting/work/

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