ter·rif·ic | \ tə-ˈri-fik \

Definition of terrific 

1 : unusually fine : magnificent terrific weather

2 : extraordinary terrific speed

3a : exciting or fit to excite fear or awe a terrific thunderstorm

b : very bad : frightful

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from terrific

terrifically \tə-ˈri-fi-k(ə-)lē \ adverb

Examples of terrific in a Sentence

She's given me some terrific ideas. Your test scores were terrific. They did a terrific job painting the house. I had a terrific time. I've recovered completely. In fact, I feel terrific. We were hit by a terrific snowstorm last week.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Mulder is a terrific athlete with a modern tour pro’s frame (tall, lean, broad-shouldered). Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "Stephen Curry, Mark Mulder and celebrity wagers highlight celebrity tournament," 12 July 2018 Pitcher Don Sphar was a hard thrower and a terrific athlete, ranking second on the team with a .359 batting average. Walter Villa, miamiherald, "The key players on Coral Park's 1978 championship team," 7 June 2018 After that, the Longhorns needed some superb relief pitching and a terrific defensive play to hold off Indiana, the home team on Sunday. Mark Rosner, Indianapolis Star, "NCAA baseball: Bounce doesn't go IU's way as season ends in Texas," 4 June 2018 The Rockets’ idea of a really terrific play is to leave the ball in the hands of Harden, dribbling madly away, until about five seconds remain on the shot clock and it’s desperation time. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors, Celtics: It feels like a collision course," 15 May 2018 And then a terrific play by Freddy on a very difficult hop – and to get rid of it quick to turn two. Kevin Acee, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres flash leather, not lumber as they fall to Brewers in opener," 29 Mar. 2018 As relaxed an afternoon as Barrow and the defense enjoyed, there was one terrific play turned in by the gloves. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Barrow no-hits Sam Rayburn in 14-0 Deer Park rout," 16 Mar. 2018 Riller is an elite scorer, terrific athlete, gets downhill, finishes at the rim, doesn't need much time to get that thing off. James Crepea, AL.com, "What College of Charleston coach Earl Grant, players said about playing Auburn in NCAA Tournament," 15 Mar. 2018 Siobhan’s got a real weaselly goober of a fiancé, Tom, played with jumpy energy by a terrific Matthew Macfadyen. Richard Lawson, HWD, "HBO’s Rich-Family-in-Peril Drama Succession Has a Troubling Allure," 1 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'terrific.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of terrific

1667, in the meaning defined at sense 3b

History and Etymology for terrific

Latin terrificus, from terrēre to frighten

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about terrific

Statistics for terrific

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for terrific

The first known use of terrific was in 1667

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for terrific



English Language Learners Definition of terrific

: extremely good

: causing a feeling of surprise or wonder


ter·rif·ic | \ tə-ˈri-fik \

Kids Definition of terrific

1 : excellent That's a terrific idea.

2 : very unusual : extraordinary The car was going at terrific speed.

3 : causing terror : terrible The storm caused terrific damage.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on terrific

What made you want to look up terrific? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!