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

Other Words from exterminate

extermination \ ik-​ˌstər-​mə-​ˈnā-​shən How to pronounce exterminate (audio) \ noun
exterminator \ ik-​ˈstər-​mə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce exterminate (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 It’s about a boy trying to survive in the 1930s during Soviet efforts to exterminate the Ukrainian people through starvation and other policies. Marc Bona, cleveland, 22 July 2022 The recordings, carried out in 1957, have Eichmann hailing his part in the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jewish people. Abbas Al Lawati, CNN, 6 July 2022 China is not looking much better as growth has been hampered by its draconian efforts to exterminate the Coronavirus across the country under its zero-COVID policy. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 6 July 2022 Gorr is on a personal quest to exterminate all gods. Chris Smith, BGR, 30 May 2022 Per city and state housing rules, the board cannot abdicate its responsibility to exterminate. Ronda Kaysen, New York Times, 4 June 2022 Then there are the Ultron bots, which aren’t set out to exterminate the human race. Chris Smith, BGR, 11 May 2022 Ukrainian President Zelenskyy also accused Russia of trying to exterminate Ukrainians after Russian missile hit food and grain warehouses, while the United States denies any involvement in the sinking of a Russian fleet. Sarah Elbeshbishi, USA TODAY, 8 May 2022 Removing the name of a man who tried to exterminate the Lakota and replacing it with the name of Black Elk on the Lakota’s sacred mountain is a step toward reconciliation and restorative justice. Bonnie Mcgill, Scientific American, 22 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for exterminate

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The first known use of exterminate was in 1591

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Dictionary Entries Near exterminate

exterior slope



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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Exterminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exterminate. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for exterminate


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

More from Merriam-Webster on exterminate

Nglish: Translation of exterminate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exterminate for Arabic Speakers


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