One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in science fiction) a member of a race of predatory plants which are capable of growing to a gigantic size and are possessed of locomotive ability and a poisonous sting.
- ‘It is a rampant triffid like grass, spreading out long tentacles that actually climb up trees or fences if left alone.’
- ‘The 2003 Tour was the fastest on record, averaging more than 25 miles per hour and putting the cyclists under threat from speed cameras, currently proliferating throughout the world like triffids.’
- ‘You will have noticed that the number of television channels is growing faster than a triffid on a compost heap, meaning more choice for advertisers and viewers.’
- ‘I suppose they could be like triffids and just automatically move towards noise, or a particular smell.’
- ‘A quick trip to the greenhouse to do the watering last night has shown that things are growing like triffids!’
Coined by John Wyndham in Day of the Triffids (1951).
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