In the interests of not making every post here about media bias this week, and keeping with the nascent SC tradition (anything less than a year old just doesn't really seem to merit the t-word) of blogging about fast-food language, your host will mention a sign seen tonight at Jack-In-The-Box:
Aroma-licious! Bean-tastic! Java-rific! Coffee so good, we had to make up new words for it.
Since these aren't really morphemes on their own (cran, cran, cran, cran...), SC couldn't resist trying out the endings to see how readily they were adopted by other people. As usual, all hit counts are Google's, the second-favorite search engine of SC (his favorite remains the one he helped design, even if it never made it out of the lab).
"rific": about 25,000 hits, including such gems as ""Tour-rific", "Spa-rific", "Tigger-rific", and "Tea-rific". "Tour" and "tea" work particularly well in this case, for obvious reasons. Your host was only mildly surprised to learn that "rrific" with two "r"s is nowhere near as popular (about 3,000 hits); although "ter" isn't a morpheme, either, and he might have expected the double consonant to be carried over to parallel the appearance of "terrific", we don't start many words with two of the same consonant (the British name ffolkes being a rare exception, and the name of a very funny movie).
"tastic" is far more popular than "rific", pulling in some 130,000 hits. This is true even when you pull out the too-easy pun "fun-tastic" (also minus "fan-tastic with a '-'), with 91,000 hits. Inspection of the first few pages of results indicate that pornographers seem to have a special affection for "tastic", a fact which I cannot explain and don't care to try.
"licious" turns out to be as popular as "tastic". It comes in with fewer hits in isolation; only about 114,000. But if you pull out the most obvious hit again, "dee-licious", you get as many hits as "tastic". Unsurprisingly, it finds use primarily in food descriptions; "pawlicious" for a line of dog snacks, "maui-licious" barbeque sauce, and "vegan-licious" (a vegan cookbook) were typical results.
Searching for morphemes like this presents a special problem. The results above all depended on people singling out the usage they were coining by using a space or hyphen between the stem and the affix in question. If someone wrote "mauilicious", though, it would skip right by Google. So the above estimates are only a very rough guide to the productivity of the morphemes involved, although it's hard to believe that the relative frequencies would change all that much.
SC really likes these constructions. Coinages of this sort represent a search for something which is not merely a superlative, but conveys excitement and enthusiasm as well. Yes, it's easy for them to be trite and cheap; there's a reason the "tastic" count went down so spectacularly without the two most obvious variations. And writing like this in serious genres would come off stylistically as more juvenile than clever. Still, in appropriate contexts, these words are good for at least a fleeting smile and a brighter mood, and it's not too often you can get that from just one word anywhere.