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Borrowed from Latin terminātus, past participle of terminō (I set bounds to, bound, limit, end, close, terminate), from terminus (a bound, limit, end); see term, terminus. Doublet of termine.



terminate (third-person singular simple present terminates, present participle terminating, simple past and past participle terminated)

  1. (transitive or intransitive) To end something, especially when left in an incomplete state; to die.
    • 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 3, page 102:
      She unlocked the casket which contained her mother's picture, and gazed even more earnestly than usual on that beautiful face; its frank, glad smile was too painful; it seemed an omen of all that could make a joyous and beloved existence; and yet how had her's terminated!
    to terminate a surface by a line
    to terminate an effort, or a controversy
    • 1857, John Scandrett Harford, The Life of Michael Angelo Buonarroti
      During this interval of calm and prosperity, he terminated two figures of slaves, destined for the tomb, in an incomparable style of art.
  2. (transitive or intransitive) To set or be a limit or boundary to.
  3. (transitive, euphemistic) To kill someone or something.
    the enemy must be terminated by any means possible
  4. (transitive, euphemistic) To end the employment contract of an employee; to fire, lay off.
  5. Of a mode of transport, to end its journey; or of a railway line, to reach its terminus.
    This train terminates at the next station.
    • 1960 March, H. P. White, “The Hawkhurst branch of the Southern Region”, in Trains Illustrated, page 170:
      It is a branch that climbs for 11½ miles into the picturesque Wealden hills until, apparently exhausted by the effort, it terminates a mile short of the village of Hawkhurst.
    • 2020 December 2, Paul Bigland, “My weirdest and wackiest Rover yet”, in Rail, page 67:
      After dropping off travellers at Foregate Street, my train terminates at Shrub Hill - a station which boasts one of the best selection [sic] of semaphore signals left in the country.



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terminate (comparative more terminate, superlative most terminate)

  1. Terminated; limited; bounded; ended.
  2. Having a definite and clear limit or boundary; having a determinate size, shape or magnitude.
    Mountains on the Moon cast shadows that are very dark, terminate and more distinct than those cast by mountains on the Earth.
  3. (mathematics) Expressible in a finite number of terms; (of a decimal) not recurring or infinite.
    One third is a recurring decimal, but one half is a terminate decimal.




Etymology 1[edit]



  1. inflection of terminare:
    1. second-person plural present indicative/subjunctive
    2. second-person plural imperative

Etymology 2[edit]


terminate f pl

  1. feminine plural of terminato





  1. second-person plural present active imperative of terminō