1555, "goal, end, final point," from L. terminus (pl. termini) "end, boundary line," from PIE base *ter-, base of words meaning "peg, post, boundary, marker goal" (cf. Skt. tarati "passes over, crosses over," Hittite tarmaizzi "he limits," Gk. terma "boundary, end, limit"). In ancient Rome, Terminus was the name of the deity who presided over boundaries and landmarks, focus of the important Roman festival of Terminalia (held Feb. 23, the end of the old Roman year). Meaning "either end of a transportation line" is first recorded 1836.