Simple Definition of exterminate
: to destroy or kill (a group of animals, people, etc.) completely
Examples of exterminate in a sentence
We made arrangements to have the termites exterminated.
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 of exterminate
Latin exterminatus, past participle of exterminare, from ex- + terminus boundary — more at term
First Known Use: 1591
Synonym Discussion of exterminate
Rhymes with exterminate
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EXTERMINATE Defined for Kids
Definition of exterminate for Students
: to get rid of completely : wipe out <exterminate cockroaches>
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