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Humanities and Science University Journal № 48 (Philology and Archaeology, World History, Art History), 2019

Terrifi c: Adjective with Its Core Meaning Missing in Dictionaries

A. A. Pakhomova, I. V. Tolochin
Price: 50 руб.
The paper offers a comparative analysis of the dictionary defi nitions 
of the adjective terrifi c in Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-
Webster’s as the two major dictionaries of the English language with 
the selected contexts of its use. The analysis reveals that both diction-
aries fail to identify the core sense of this word; besides, they provide 
inconsistent and confl icting defi nitions of its derived senses, failing to 
clearly distinguish between the positively and negatively charged con-
texts. The paper demonstrates that the problem is caused by the super-
fi cial treatment of the context in identifying the meaning of the word. 
The adjective terrifi c is regarded as a word with a rich ambivalent core 
meaning consistently used in literary texts and analytical journalism. 
It is this meaning that accounts for the coexistence of the two derived 
senses with the opposing evaluative potential.
Keywords: word meaning, polysemy, context, corpus, lexicography.
1. Smirnova A., Tolochin I. Terrible Angels: Semantic Ambivalence and Polysemy / 
GEMA Online® Journal of Language Studies 153 Volume 18 (3), August 2018. URL: 
http://doi.org/10.17576/gema-2018-1803-09 (дата обращения: 18.02.2019).
2. Smirnova A. “Where is the bank?” or how to “fi nd” different senses of a word. 
URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4946291/ (дата обращения: 
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