That Word: Terrific (17)

That Word is a segment where I will be posting a new word each week. They are words that I’ve newly discovered or words I’ve known but wanted to be more thorough in knowing the meaning. This could be for you writer’s like myself looking carefully into the words we use or it could be for those people who are just interested in all kinds of different words. No matter which one you are, this post is for you. This week’s word is…



Derived Form: terrifically


Where I Discovered It

I was doing a look over the That Word post for terrify and was trying to think of the different variations of the word when I thought of Terrific. Hence, this post was born. 



  1. Extraordinary great or intense
  2. Extremely good; wonderful
  3. Causing terror; terrifying


Terrific originated from around 1660-70. It developed from terrificus meaning frightening which it says is equivalent to terr(ēre) which also means to frighten.

Example Sentences

The child received a sticker saying ‘terrific‘ on her school work.

The wedding went terrifically.


My Thoughts

Terrific to me is not that uncommon of a word, however, it isn’t one necessarily used that often either. It’s a word with three definitions, the first two being quite similar while the last one fits into the similarities with terrify.  Although, to be honest, I don’t think I’ve heard it used in that last definition before. When I think of terrific I think of good, great, fantastic. Not, scary. That goes with terrify.

In some ways it’s a word that makes me excited. Although, this could be more to do with the idea of that terrific, is a job well done. However, I kind of like how it sounds too. I often look at how says it, but find that I don’t necessarily pronounce it the same way. I kind of like the way the two r’s kind of roll together to make that sound and also the way it kind of flows to ific sounds.

If you remember to terrify last week, the origins actually are very similar except for the fact that terrific came along slightly later. I think it’s overall kind of cool that these two words a similar, but yet the uses I think of I mostly quite different.


Have you heard or seen of this word before? Have you used it before? Would you use it more in the future? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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