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verb ex·ter·mi·nate \ik-ˈstər-mə-ˌnāt\

Simple Definition of exterminate

  • : to destroy or kill (a group of animals, people, etc.) completely

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of exterminate



  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to get rid of completely usually by killing off <exterminate termites and cockroaches>


play \-ˌstər-mə-ˈnā-shən\ noun


play \-ˈstər-mə-ˌnā-tər\ noun

Examples of exterminate in a sentence

  1. We made arrangements to have the termites exterminated.

  2. The invaders nearly exterminated the native people.

Did You Know?

Originally, to exterminate something was to banish it or drive it away. And it is this meaning that can be found in the Latin origin of "exterminate." "Exterminate" comes from "exterminatus," the past participle of exterminare, meaning "to drive beyond the boundaries." The Latin word exterminare was formed from the prefix ex- ("out of" or "outside") and "terminus" ("boundary"). Not much more than a century after its introduction to English, "exterminate" came to denote destroying or utterly putting an end to something. And that's the use with which the word is usually employed today.

Origin and Etymology of exterminate

Latin exterminatus, past participle of exterminare, from ex- + terminus boundary — more at term

First Known Use: 1591

Synonym Discussion of exterminate

exterminate, extirpate, eradicate, uproot mean to effect the destruction or abolition of something. exterminate implies complete and immediate extinction by killing off all individuals <exterminate cockroaches>. extirpate implies extinction of a race, family, species, or sometimes an idea or doctrine by destruction or removal of its means of propagation <many species have been extirpated from the area>. eradicate implies the driving out or elimination of something that has established itself <a campaign to eradicate illiteracy>. uproot implies a forcible or violent removal and stresses displacement or dislodgment rather than immediate destruction <the war uprooted thousands>.

EXTERMINATE Defined for Kids


verb ex·ter·mi·nate \ik-ˈstər-mə-ˌnāt\

Definition of exterminate for Students



  1. :  to get rid of completely :  wipe out <exterminate cockroaches>


\-ˌstər-mə-ˈnā-shən\ noun

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