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From Latin terrificus (causing terror), from terrere (to frighten, terrify) + -ficus, from facere (to make).


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terrific (comparative more terrific, superlative most terrific)

  1. (colloquial) Frighteningly good.
    I say! She's a terrific tennis player.
  2. (colloquial) Astounding or awesome.
    The car came round the bend at a terrific speed.
  3. (dated) Terrifying; causing terror.
    The lightning was followed by a terrific clap of thunder.
    • 1860, Charles Dickens, Captain Murderer
      He made love in a coach and six, and married in a coach and twelve, and all his horses were milk-white horses with one red spot on the back which he caused to be hidden by the harness. For, the spot would come there, though every horse was milk-white when Captain Murderer bought him. And the spot was young bride's blood. (To this terrific point I am indebted for my first personal experience of a shudder and cold beads on the forehead.)
  4. Frightful or very unpleasant.
    I've got a terrific hangover this morning.
  5. (colloquial) Extraordinarily great or intense.
    terrific speed


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