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gull-like shore bird (subfamily Sterninae), 1670s, via East Anglian dialect, from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish terne, Swedish tärna, Færoese terna) related to Old Norse þerna "tern," cognate with Old English stearn "starling."
Extreme; unmitigated: Terminal cuteness is the dread disease of too much Southern writing
[1990s+; based on the medical sense ''fatal, incurable'']