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adjective ter·mi·nal \ˈtərm-nəl, ˈtər-mə-nəl\

Simple Definition of terminal

  • : causing death eventually : leading finally to death

  • : having an illness that cannot be cured and that will soon lead to death

  • : of or relating to patients who have a terminal illness

Full Definition of terminal

  1. 1a :  of or relating to an end, extremity, boundary, or terminus <a terminal pillar>b :  growing at the end of a branch or stem <a terminal bud>

  2. 2a :  of, relating to, or occurring in a term or each term <terminal payments>b (1) :  leading ultimately to death :  fatal <terminal cancer> (2) :  approaching or close to death :  being in the final stages of a fatal disease <a terminal patient> (3) :  of or relating to patients with a terminal illness <terminal care>c :  extremely or hopelessly severe <terminal boredom>

  3. 3a :  occurring at or constituting the end of a period or series :  concluding <the terminal moments of life>b :  not intended as preparation for further academic work <a terminal curriculum>

ter·mi·nal·ly adverb

Examples of terminal

  1. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

  2. I was suffering from terminal boredom.

  3. another person with terminal stupidity

  4. branches that end in a terminal bud

Origin of terminal

Latin terminalis, from terminus

First Known Use: 1744

Synonym Discussion of terminal

last, final, terminal, ultimate mean following all others (as in time, order, or importance). last applies to something that comes at the end of a series but does not always imply that the series is completed or stopped <last page of a book> <last news we had of him>. final applies to that which definitely closes a series, process, or progress <final day of school>. terminal may indicate a limit of extension, growth, or development <terminal phase of a disease>. ultimate implies the last degree or stage of a long process beyond which further progress or change is impossible <the ultimate collapse of the system>.

Rhymes with terminal



noun ter·mi·nal

Simple Definition of terminal

  • : a building where buses or trains regularly stop so that passengers can get on and off

  • : a building at an airport where people get on and off airplanes

  • : a computer or a combination of a keyboard and a video display that is connected to a system and used for entering or receiving data

Full Definition of terminal

  1. 1 :  a part that forms the end :  extremity, termination

  2. 2 :  a terminating usually ornamental detail :  finial

  3. 3 :  a device attached to the end of a wire or cable or to an electrical apparatus for convenience in making connections

  4. 4a :  either end of a carrier line having facilities for the handling of freight and passengersb :  a freight or passenger station that is central to a considerable area or serves as a junction at any point with other linesc :  a town or city at the end of a carrier line :  terminus

  5. 5 :  a combination of a keyboard and output device (as a video display unit) by which data can be entered into or output from a computer or electronic communications system

Examples of terminal

  1. I will meet you outside the bus terminal.

  2. Flight 1584 is now departing from Gate 6 in Terminal A.

  3. You are not allowed in the terminal without a ticket.

  4. Ten terminals are connected to this server.

  5. You will need to clean the corrosion off the battery terminals.


First Known Use of terminal


Other Architecture Terms

TERMINAL Defined for Kids



adjective ter·mi·nal \ˈtər-mə-nəl\

Definition of terminal

  1. :  relating to or forming an end <branches with terminal buds>



noun ter·mi·nal

Definition of terminal

  1. 1 :  either end of a transportation line or a passenger or freight station located at it <the bus terminal>

  2. 2 :  a device (as in a computer system) used to put in, receive, and display information <He typed his request into the terminal.>

  3. 3 :  a device at the end of a wire or on a machine for making an electrical connection

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February 10, 2016

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