Awe is an emotion comparable to wonder[1] but less joyous. On Robert Plutchik's wheel of emotions[2] awe is modeled as a combination of surprise and fear.

painting of a man staring at an awe-inspiring mountain landscape
Destruction of Tyre by John Martin (1840)

One dictionary definition is "an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like: in awe of God; in awe of great political figures."[3] Another dictionary definition is a "mixed emotion of reverence, respect, dread, and wonder inspired by authority, genius, great beauty, sublimity, or might: We felt awe when contemplating the works of Bach. The observers were in awe of the destructive power of the new weapon."[4]

In general, awe is directed at objects considered to be more powerful than the subject, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Grand Canyon, the vastness of the cosmos, or a deity.[5][6]

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