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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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for terrific
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I cannot conceal from you that your article on d'Arthez has roused a terrific hubbub.

  • Its action was so terrific that it did not rend or crack metal or stone which it struck.

    The World Peril of 1910 George Griffith
  • Presently the one on top hit his adversary a terrific blow on the head.

  • She has bearded the lion in his den, and his roar was not terrific.

    Floyd Grandon's Honor Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • With a wild snort he cleared with one leap a low willow bush and dragging the sled after him, sprang away at a terrific speed.

    On the Yukon Trail Roy J. Snell
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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