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[ik-stur-muh-neyt] /ɪkˈstɜr məˌneɪt/
verb (used with object), exterminated, exterminating.
to get rid of by destroying; destroy totally; extirpate:
to exterminate an enemy; to exterminate insects.
Origin of exterminate
1535-45; < Latin exterminātus, past participle of extermināre to extermine; see -ate1
Related forms
[ik-stur-muh-nuh-buh l] /ɪkˈstɜr mə nə bəl/ (Show IPA),
extermination, noun
nonextermination, noun
self-extermination, noun
unexterminable, adjective
unexterminated, adjective
eradicate, abolish, annihilate, eliminate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for extermination
  • It is only the leaders that are doing something, that are intolerant, and that require extermination at his hands.
  • Carnivore-livestock conflicts are no longer resolved through extermination campaigns.
  • The existing extermination sites in the east cannot cope with the large scale of the planned operation.
  • Some local scoundrel had called the animal extermination league or something, and they vanished.
  • There's something new and deeply awful about this campaign that distinguishes it from previous wildlife extermination efforts.
  • Their physical appearance, in other words, inspired his desire for their extermination.
  • Those who have might find this extermination approach,feasible and effective.
  • The onset of that is that start of our extermination.
  • The subtlety of the human advantage in intelligence delayed, but did not avert, the extermination.
  • His execution, if it comes to that, will really be more of an extermination.
British Dictionary definitions for extermination


(transitive) to destroy (living things, esp pests or vermin) completely; annihilate; eliminate
Derived Forms
exterminable, adjective
extermination, noun
exterminative, exterminatory, adjective
exterminator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin extermināre to drive away, from terminus boundary
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for extermination

mid-15c., "repulsion;" 1540s, "utter destruction," from Middle French extermination and directly from Latin exterminationem (nominative exterminatio), noun of action from past participle stem of exterminare (see exterminate).



1540s, "drive away," from Latin exterminatus, past participle of exterminare "drive out, expel, drive beyond boundaries," also, in Late Latin "destroy," from phrase ex termine "beyond the boundary," from ex- "out of" (see ex-) + termine, ablative of termen "boundary, limit, end" (see terminus).

Meaning "destroy utterly" is from 1640s in English, a sense found in equivalent words in French and in the Vulgate; earlier in this sense was extermine (mid-15c.). Related: Exterminated; exterminating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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