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[tuh-rif-ik] /təˈrɪf ɪk/
extraordinarily great or intense:
terrific speed.
extremely good; wonderful:
a terrific vacation.
causing terror; terrifying.
Origin of terrific
1660-70; < Latin terrificus frightening, equivalent to terr(ēre) to frighten + -i- -i- + -ficus -fic
Related forms
terrifically, adverb
unterrific, adjective
unterrifically, adverb
1, 2. extraordinary, remarkable. 2. fine, excellent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for terrific
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The school was under the head-mastership of "the terrific Dr. Keate."

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • Barry entered the army under the most terrific pressure only.

    Ridgeway Scian Dubh
  • He saw the terrific pace that the Indian had set the others.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • In the end, it will be seen by what a terrific lesson I finally learned to swim.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • We took the weight of the last in squalls, some of which were terrific.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for terrific


very great or intense: a terrific noise
(informal) very good; excellent: a terrific singer
very frightening
Derived Forms
terrifically, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin terrificus, from terrēre to frighten; see -fic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for terrific

1660s, "frightening," from Latin terrificus "causing terror or fear," from terrere "fill with fear" (see terrible) + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). Weakened sensed of "very great, severe" (e.g. terrific headache) appeared 1809; colloquial sense of "excellent" began 1888.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for terrific



  1. Excellent; wonderful; great: The script is apt to be terrific
  2. Prodigious; extreme; amazing: Times Square hotel biz is on the terrific fritz (1888+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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