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noun \ˈtərm\

Simple Definition of term

  • : a word or phrase that has an exact meaning

  • terms : the particular kinds of words used to describe someone or something

  • : the length of time during which a person has an official or political office

Full Definition of term

  1. 1a :  end, termination; also :  a point in time assigned to something (as a payment)b :  the time at which a pregnancy of normal length terminates <had her baby at full term>

  2. 2a :  a limited or definite extent of time; especially :  the time for which something lasts :  duration, tenure <term of office> <lost money in the short term>b :  the whole period for which an estate is granted; also :  the estate or interest held by one for a termc :  the time during which a court is in session

  3. 3 plural :  provisions that determine the nature and scope of an agreement :  conditions <terms of sale> <liberal credit terms>

  4. 4a :  a word or expression that has a precise meaning in some uses or is peculiar to a science, art, profession, or subject <legal terms>b plural :  expression of a specified kind <described in glowing terms>

  5. 5a :  a unitary or compound expression connected with another by a plus or minus signb :  an element of a fraction or proportion or of a series or sequence

  6. 6 plural a :  mutual relationship :  footing <on good terms>b :  agreement, concord <come to terms after extensive negotiations>c :  a state of acceptance or understanding <came to terms with the failure of his marriage>

  7. 7 :  any of the three substantive elements of a syllogism

  8. 8 :  a quadrangular pillar often tapering downward and adorned on the top with the figure of a head or the upper part of the body

  9. 9 :  division in a school year during which instruction is regularly given to students

in terms of
  1. :  with respect to or in relation to <thinks of everything in terms of money>

on one's own terms
  1. :  in accordance with one's wishes :  in one's own way <prefers to live on his own terms>

Examples of term

  1. I had the feeling that I had been there before. The term for that is déjà vu.

  2. That's an outdated term that no one uses anymore.

  3. He spoke about them in glowing terms.

  4. The law had been understood in broad terms.

  5. The governor will run for a second term.

  6. He is currently serving his third term in the U.S. Senate.

  7. He was sentenced to a ten-year term in the state penitentiary.

  8. The term of the contract is 60 months.

  9. His grades have improved since last term.

  10. English 122 is not offered this term.

Origin of term

Middle English terme, from Anglo-French, from Latin terminus boundary marker, limit; akin to Greek termōn boundary, end, Sanskrit tarman top of a post

First Known Use: 13th century

Rhymes with term



transitive verb

Simple Definition of term

  • : to give a particular name or description to (something) : to call (something) by a particular name or to describe (something) in a particular way

Full Definition of term

  1. :  to apply a term to :  call, name

Examples of term

  1. They termed the structure a double helix.

  2. The project was termed a success.

Circa 1557

First Known Use of term

circa 1557

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up term? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

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