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From Medieval Latin splendorifer, from Latin splendor + fero (to bear), reintroduced humorously into English c. 1837.


  • IPA(key): /splɛnˈdɪfəɹəs/


splendiferous (comparative more splendiferous, superlative most splendiferous)

  1. beautiful, splendid
    • c. 1460, George Ashby, "Dicta & opiniones diversorum philosophorum", 149, in George Ashby's Poems, edited by Mary Bateson, 1899.
      Who that is wele cherisshed with a king And is with hym grete & splendiferous.
    • 1837, Robert Montgomery Bird; William Harrison Ainsworth, Nick of the Woods: A Story of Kentucky‎, page 174:
      Oh ! you splendiferous creatur'! you anngeliferous anngel! here am I, Ralph Stackpole the Screamer
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses, Chapter 14 "Oxen of the Sun"
      You move a motion? Steve boy, you’re going it some. More bluggy drunkables? Will immensely splendiferous stander permit one stooder of most extreme poverty and one largesize grandacious thirst to terminate one expensive inaugurated libation?
    • 2004, Neal Stephenson, The Confusion, p. 178
      ...he was trying to convince the Spaniards on the Viceroy's brig that they really ought to be interested in certain splendiferous goods that he, Mr. Foot, the owner and captain of this galleot, had of late brought out of the Orient--particularly, carpets.



"Splendiferous" in John Russell Bartlett, Dictionary of Americanisms: A Glossary of Words and Phrases Usually Regarded as Peculiar to the United States, Fourth Edition, Little, Brown, and Company (1887), page 637:

Splendiferous.   Splendid; fine.   A factitious word used only in jest.
To my mind, a splendiferous woman and a first-chop horse are the noblest works of creation. — Sam Slick, Human Nature, p. 280.
There’s something so fascinating in the first blush of evening that it’s enough to make a man strip off his jacket of mortality, and swim through the gulf of death, for the sake of reaching the splendiferous splendors that decorate the opposite shore. — Dow’s Sermons, Vol. I. p. 69.
An itinerant gospeller was holding forth to a Kentuckian audience, on the kingdom of heaven:—
“Heaven, my beloved hearers,” said he, “is a glorious, a beautiful, a splendiferous, an angeliferous place. Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, it has not entered into the imagination of any Cracker in these here diggings what carryings on the just made perfect have up thar.”
It is singular that Drayton, the poet of Queen Elizabeth’s time, should have coined a similar word, splendidious, as well as the word splend’rous:—
Celestial brightness seized on his face,
That did the wond’ring Israelites amaze,
When he returned from that sovereign place,
His brows encircled with splendidious rays.
Moses, his Birth and Miracles, B. iii.