1. Very good or fine; splendid: a terrific tennis player.
2. Awesome; astounding: drove at a terrific rate of speed.
3. Causing terror or great fear; terrifying: a terrific wail.
4. Very bad or unpleasant; frightful: a terrific headache.
[Latin terrificus : terrēre, to frighten + -ficus, -fic.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.