meaning of terrific

Discussion in 'English Only' started by tunny1960, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. tunny1960 New Member

    Does anybody know how the meaning of "awsome" of terrific derives from the meaning of "bad" or "unpleasent"? Thank you.
  2. xqby

    xqby Senior Member

    Oxnard, CA
    English (U.S.)
    As I understand it, the adjectival meaning was influenced by its adverbial parallel.
    "Terrifically" used to mean "to such an extent as to inspire fear" or something like that, and began to be used hyperbolically as just "to a great extent."
    Eventually the exaggerated sense of the words became their standard meaning. Sensible?

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