Offal vs. Awful

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Offal is the edible entrails and internal organs of an animal, offal may also mean decomposing organic material. Offal may be used figuratively to describe refuse or waste material of any kind. The word offal is a mass noun, which is a noun that describes something that cannot be counted, there is no plural form. Offal is derived from the Dutch word afval, which means fallen off, describing the parts of an animal that “falls off” of the butcher’s block.

Awful means nasty, unpleasant, very bad, shocking. Awful is an adjective, in American English awful may also be used as an adverb. Awful is derived from the Old English word egefull meaning worthy of fear, worthy of respect. There is no etymological link between the words offal and awful.


Police say the driver of the truck carrying offal may not have been aware that he lost part of the load at Purga, 10km south of Ipswich, about 12.30pm. (The Queensland Times)

After supper the kitchen staff would be invited to join me on the terrace to take pot shots at them with a medieval trebuchet firing out-of-date frozen hams and offal. (The Guardian)

The chemical offal water is pumped, untreated, into a large reservoir that surrounds the local village, where many people suffer horrifying disfigurements. (The Regina Leader-Post)

Make no mistake, this is a verbally explicit play, body parts and intimate functions are discussed in detail and the language is awful yet, while it does get repetitive, it has the audience in stitches. (The Irish News)

Eurgain said: “The reception we had was awful. People were spitting at us and throwing rotten tomatoes at us and it was an awful disappointment.” (The Liverpool Echo)

“You get awful sick of hot dogs.” (The News & Observer)

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