exterminate

verb
ex·​ter·​mi·​nate | \ ik-ˈstər-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce exterminate (audio) \
exterminated; exterminating

Definition of exterminate

transitive verb

: to get rid of completely usually by killing off exterminate termites and cockroaches

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Other Words from exterminate

extermination \ ik-​ˌstər-​mə-​ˈnā-​shən How to pronounce extermination (audio) \ noun
exterminator \ ik-​ˈstər-​mə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce exterminator (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.

Examples of exterminate in a Sentence

We made arrangements to have the termites exterminated. The invaders nearly exterminated the native people.

Recent Examples on the Web

On Monday, Cartwright said its policy is to relocate the bees without exterminating them whenever possible. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres face backlash for exterminating bee swarm during Sunday’s game," 3 June 2019 Toothless is an alpha male whose assertion of his supremacy over dragonkind is thwarted and threatened by a sneering dragon hunter, Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham), who has devoted his life to exterminating Night Furies. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’: Third film soars with extraordinary visuals," 20 Feb. 2019 Attempting to use her name in a racially derogatory manner exacerbates a mounting litany of genocidal devices used to erase, oppress, and exterminate American Indians. Ruth Hopkins, Teen Vogue, "Sacagawea Changed the Course of History and Deserves Respect," 11 Jan. 2019 In addition, the 1941-1944 Nazi occupation nearly exterminated their Jewish populations. Nicole Winfield, Fox News, "Pope praises Latvia's Christian roots in enduring occupation," 24 Sep. 2018 State officials have conducted extensive predator control, exterminating wolves, black bears and grizzly bears, to increase populations of moose, caribou and deer. Dan Joling, The Seattle Times, "Zinke seeks more state wildlife management on federal lands," 11 Sep. 2018 Another floor will give visitors a sense of the Nazi concentration camps where millions of Jews and others were exterminated in the Holocaust, while a third floor will exhibit the sights and sounds of Jerusalem. Washington Post, "Jewish museum in Cyprus aims to build bridges to Arab world," 6 June 2018 He was convicted in 2013 of trying to exterminate the Ixil ethnic group, a Mayan Indian community whose villages were wiped out by his forces. Stephen Kinzer, New York Times, "Efraín Ríos Montt, Guatemalan Dictator Convicted of Genocide, Dies at 91," 1 Apr. 2018 It was designed with the sole intention of exterminating Jews, as opposed to other facilities that had at least a facade of being prison or labor camps. Kristen De Groot, The Seattle Times, "1st US public Holocaust memorial merges past with new tech," 22 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exterminate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of exterminate

1591, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for exterminate

Latin exterminatus, past participle of exterminare, from ex- + terminus boundary — more at term entry 1

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Statistics for exterminate

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exterminate

The first known use of exterminate was in 1591

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More Definitions for exterminate

exterminate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of exterminate

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

exterminate

verb
ex·​ter·​mi·​nate | \ ik-ˈstər-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce exterminate (audio) \
exterminated; exterminating

Kids Definition of exterminate

: to get rid of completely : wipe out exterminate cockroaches

Other Words from exterminate

extermination \ -​ˌstər-​mə-​ˈnā-​shən \ noun

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