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Also ‑ific and ‑(i)ficent.

Forming adjectives of action.

Latin ‑ficus, ultimately from facere, to do or make

The ‑fic ending marks adjectives that relate to an activity, often a continuing one, as in beatific, feeling or expressing blissful happiness; honorific, of something given as a mark of respect; horrific, causing horror; prolific, producing much of something; and soporific, tending to induce drowsiness or sleep.

Some have moved some way away from literalness—terrific now often refers to something wonderful or excellent, but it once meant ‘inducing terror’, from Latin terrere, to frighten; calorific (Latin calor, heat) literally means ‘producing heat’, but now usually refers to the amount of energy contained in food or fuel.

The ending ‑ficent (see ‑ant) forms a few adjectives from nouns in ‑ence (see ‑ance) that relate to an action or activity, such as beneficent, doing good or conferring benefits; magnificent, making a splendid appearance or show; and munificent, acting generously.

Virtually all these words contain the linking vowel ‑i‑ before the suffix, so that the currently active forms are taken to be ‑ific and ‑ificent. See also ‑fy and ‑ic.

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