Why Does ‘Terrible’ Mean Bad and Terrific Mean Good?


We go watch a TV show or some movie, and we’d hear the expression: ‘terrible’ or ‘terrific’. By then, hopefully, we already know what those two words mean. But why do they sound so similar but used at extremely different moments? As if the two words are each used as one side of a coin?

As you might have guessed, both words have a very similar spelling (all but the last three letters), the root of these two words is the word ‘terror’.

So how did a word that originated from ‘terror’ turn out to be mean something simply good or bad?

All credits to Arika Okrent & Sean O’Neill, whom I call for again to explain in detail the reasons as to why this is so.

Just like the last time, I’m certain this video would be more interesting and be a great aural comprehension exercise than a page filled with my blabber. Enjoy!


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