term

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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
terms plural : expression of a specified kind
described in glowing terms
2
a
: 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 term
c
: the time during which a court is in session
3
: division in a school year during which instruction is regularly given to students
4
terms plural : provisions that determine the nature and scope of an agreement : conditions
terms of sale
liberal credit terms
5
terms 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
6
a
: the time at which a pregnancy of normal length terminates
had her baby at full term
b
: end, termination
also : a point in time assigned to something (such as a payment)
7
a
: a unitary or compound expression connected with another by a plus or minus sign
b
: an element of a fraction or proportion or of a series or sequence
8
: any of the three substantive elements of a syllogism
9
: a quadrangular pillar often tapering downward and adorned on the top with the figure of a head or the upper part of the body

term

2 of 2

verb

termed; terming; terms

transitive verb

: to apply a term to : call, name
Phrases
in terms of
: with respect to or in relation to
thinks of everything in terms of money
on one's own terms
: in accordance with one's wishes : in one's own way
prefers to live on his own terms

Example Sentences

Noun “I had the feeling that I had been there before.” “The term for that is ‘déjà vu.’” That's an outdated term that no one uses anymore. He spoke about them in glowing terms. The law had been understood in broad terms. The governor will run for a second term. He is currently serving his third term in the U.S. Senate. He was sentenced to a ten-year term in the state penitentiary. The term of the contract is 60 months. His grades have improved since last term. English 122 is not offered this term. Verb They termed the structure a “double helix.” The project was termed a success. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
For the moment, though, Montgomery is focused less on his long-term aspirations and much more on how the Colts can finally find a rhythm on offense. The Indianapolis Star, 2 Dec. 2022 Ahead, look back at the former Saturday Night Live star's extensive romantic history, from his first long-term relationship, with Cazzie David, to his whirlwind engagement to Ariana Grande. Sabrina Park, Harper's BAZAAR, 2 Dec. 2022 Market pricing for near-term Fed policy rates declined this week after Mr. Powell’s comments. Anna Hirtenstein, WSJ, 2 Dec. 2022 Frisch, a former Aspen city councilman who did far better in the red district than he was expected to, has already conceded the race to Boebert, a first-term congresswoman. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 2 Dec. 2022 Preventing long-term knee issues is important for everyone, and these NoCry knee pads do just that. Alex Rennie, Popular Mechanics, 2 Dec. 2022 But, in 2022, the long-term effects have become clearer. Simon Parkin, The New Yorker, 2 Dec. 2022 Concerns over the long-term impact of concussions have affected turnout over the last decade, according to Thompson. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 2 Dec. 2022 Commissioners Dennis Frazier, Stephen Wantz, and Richard Weaver served two four-year terms in office, while Commissioner Eric Bouchat served one four-year term. Sherry Greenfield, Baltimore Sun, 1 Dec. 2022
Verb
Rendon, whose seven years as speaker marked the longest tenure since the 1990s, will term out of office in 2024. Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2022 China has refused to criticize Moscow’s aggression or even term it an invasion, while condemning Western sanctions against Russia and accusing the U.S. and NATO of provoking the conflict. Mark Schiefelbein, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 July 2022 Beijing has so far declined to criticize Russia or even to term its actions in Ukraine an invasion, expressing sympathy with the security concerns Moscow has cited as among the reasons for the military assault. Alex Leary And Lingling Wei, WSJ, 18 Mar. 2022 As laid out in a TIME examination of the case, their common account has since been contradicted by forensic evidence gathered by Franklin’s family, who term his death an assassination. Karl Vick, Time, 7 Oct. 2021 In those critical pre-landfall hours, the storm underwent a process that scientists term rapid intensification — and this is where warming temperatures plays a pivotal role in generating more powerful hurricanes. chicagotribune.com, 31 Aug. 2021 To put it mildly, this is not a great way to embark on the road towards a ‘new world order’ as many politicians now term it, or the building of the post COVID economy. Mike O'sullivan, Forbes, 29 May 2021 Vogel said James came out of Monday's practice fine and would not term Tuesday's absence as precautionary. Joe Reedy, Star Tribune, 11 May 2021 It’s that experienced depth that has caused head coach Kane Wommack to term the defensive line the leaders of the South Alabama defense. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 9 Apr. 2021 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6b

Verb

1545, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of term was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near term

Cite this Entry

“Term.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/term. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

term 1 of 2

noun

1
2
: a fixed period of time
especially : the time for which something lasts : duration
served two terms
the new school term
3
plural : conditions that limit the nature and scope of something (as an agreement)
could not accept their terms
4
a
: a word or expression that has an exact meaning in some uses or is limited to a particular field
legal terms
b
plural : words of a particular kind
spoke in glowing terms
5
a
: a mathematical expression (as 3x in x2 + 3xy) connected to another by a plus or a minus sign
b
: an element (as a numerator) of a fraction or proportion
6
plural
a
: personal relationship
on good terms with the neighbors
b
: agreement sense 1b
come to terms after much compromise
c
: a state of acceptance or understanding
came to terms with not making the team
in terms of
: with respect to or in relation to
thinks of everything in terms of money
on one's own terms
: in accordance with one's wishes : in one's own way
prefers to live on his own terms

term

2 of 2

verb

: to apply a term to : call, name

Medical Definition

term 1 of 2

noun

: the time at which a pregnancy of normal length terminates
had her baby at full term

term

2 of 2

adjective

: carried to, occurring at, or associated with full term
a term infant
term births

Legal Definition

term

noun

often attributive
1
: a specified period of time
the policy term
2
: the whole period for which an estate is granted
also : the estate itself
3
a
: the period in which the powers of a court may be validly exercised
b
4
: a word, phrase, or provision of import especially in determining the nature and scope of an agreement
usually used in pl.
the terms of the contract

More from Merriam-Webster on term

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ