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[tur-muh-neyt] /ˈtɜr məˌneɪt/
verb (used with object), terminated, terminating.
to bring to an end; put an end to:
to terminate a contract.
to occur at or form the conclusion of:
The countess's soliloquy terminates the play.
to bound or limit spatially; form or be situated at the extremity of.
to dismiss from a job; fire:
to terminate employees during a recession.
verb (used without object), terminated, terminating.
to end, conclude, or cease.
(of a train, bus, or other public conveyance) to end a scheduled run at a certain place:
This train terminates in New York.
to come to an end (often followed by at, in, or with).
to issue or result (usually followed by in).
Origin of terminate
late Middle English
1580-90; v. use of late Middle English terminate (adj.) limited < Latin terminātus, past participle of termināre. See term, -ate1
Related forms
terminative, adjective
terminatively, adverb
nonterminative, adjective
nonterminatively, adverb
self-terminating, adjective
self-terminative, adjective
unterminated, adjective
unterminating, adjective
unterminative, adjective
Can be confused
downsize, fire, lay off, rightsize, terminate.
1, 2. end, finish, conclude, close, complete. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for terminate
  • The district court has discretion whether to terminate a consent decree.
  • The public-works minister resigned rather than terminate the contracts.
  • For other letters the service scratches terminate where the incisions begin.
  • By medical definition, the pills block rather than terminate pregnancy.
  • Such contracts automatically renew and are difficult to terminate.
  • If only someone could terminate them without due process.
  • Recently, the company said that to survive it must terminate all four plans.
  • Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to terminate or modify the promotion.
  • Photons simple ramp up faster and terminate much faster.
  • Companies have the right under bankruptcy law to ask to terminate their pension plans.
British Dictionary definitions for terminate


when intr, often foll by in or with. to form, be, or put an end (to); conclude: to terminate a pregnancy, their relationship terminated amicably
(transitive) to connect (suitable circuitry) to the end of an electrical transmission line to absorb the energy and avoid reflections
(intransitive) (maths) (of a decimal expansion) to have only a finite number of digits
(transitive) (slang) to kill (someone)
Derived Forms
terminative, adjective
terminatory, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin terminātus limited, from termināre to set boundaries, from terminus end
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 terminate

1610s, "to bring to an end," from Latin terminatus, past participle of terminare "to limit, end" (see terminus). Sense of "to come to an end" is recorded from 1640s; meaning "dismiss from a job" is recorded from 1973; that of "to assassinate" is from 1975. Related: Terminated; terminating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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