ter·​mi·​nal | \ ˈtərm-nəl How to pronounce terminal (audio) , ˈtər-mə-nᵊl \

Definition of terminal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(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
b : of, relating to, or occurring in a term or each term terminal payments
c : extremely or hopelessly severe terminal boredom
2a : 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
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



Definition of terminal (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : either end of a carrier line having facilities for the handling of freight and passengers
b : a freight or passenger station that is central to a considerable area or serves as a junction at any point with other lines
c : a town or city at the end of a carrier line : terminus
2 : a combination of a keyboard and output device (such as a video display unit) by which data can be entered into or output from a computer or electronic communications system
3 : a device attached to the end of a wire or cable or to an electrical apparatus for convenience in making connections
4 : a part that forms the end : extremity, termination
5 : a terminating usually ornamental detail : finial

Other Words from terminal


terminally adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of terminal in a Sentence

Adjective She was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was suffering from terminal boredom. another person with terminal stupidity branches that end in a terminal bud Noun I will meet you outside the bus terminal. Flight 1584 is now departing from Gate 6 in Terminal A. You are not allowed in the terminal without a ticket. Ten terminals are connected to this server. You will need to clean the corrosion off the battery terminals. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Glioblastoma, also known as GBM, is a rare form of terminal cancer that kills more than 10,000 Americans a year, according to the National Brain Tumor Society. Vanessa Etienne, PEOPLE.com, 18 Apr. 2022 After Hitchens was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Collins offered to help, visited Hitchens in his home, and got to know his family. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, 7 Apr. 2022 The defense presented only one witness, who discussed comfort care for terminal patients. Steve Helling, PEOPLE.com, 20 Apr. 2022 As some patients have a terminal illness, mobility can be an issue, and traveling long distances is unrealistic. Zachary Smith, cleveland, 12 Apr. 2022 Judd Apatow’s made funny, down-to-earth movies about a 40-year-old virgin, unintended pregnancies, a trainwreck of a young woman, and a comedian with a terminal illness. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 1 Apr. 2022 For decades, Moseley, an oncology clinical nurse specialist, had referred terminal patients to Hopewell House, a hospice in a historic home in Southwest Portland’s Hillsdale neighborhood. oregonlive, 26 Mar. 2022 This happy-go-lucky Chihuahua came to Friends for Life Animal Rescue when his previous owner could no longer care for him due to a terminal illness. The Republic, The Arizona Republic, 25 Mar. 2022 As was the case with Montincone, Mancini was charged with causing terminal cancer patients to die agonizing deaths by injecting himself with their pain medication and replacing it with Saline. Edmund H. Mahony, courant.com, 26 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Russian defense ministry asserted that its missile strikes had destroyed a logistics terminal in the city where foreign weapons were being stored. Washington Post, 24 Apr. 2022 The two government entities have been talking for the past five years about building a County/City Hall on the grounds of the county’s central bus terminal in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel, 22 Apr. 2022 The Hong Kong-flagged ship will eventually head back to the Seagirt marine terminal in Baltimore to pick up the containers that were taken off before resuming its voyage to Norfolk, Virginia, officials said. Bill Hutchinson, ABC News, 17 Apr. 2022 Oil held a demonstration Friday at an oil terminal in Kingsbury, near the city of Birmingham. Time, 16 Apr. 2022 The capacity at the LNG terminal in the port, which is run by Nederlandse Gasunie and Koninklijke Vopak NV, is expected to increase by 30%-40% before year-end, Castelein said. Fortune, 1 Apr. 2022 The tanker departed the port and drifted in Russian waters before calling port on March 19 in a tanker terminal in Vladivostok. K Oanh Ha, Bloomberg.com, 27 Mar. 2022 Storage tanks at an LNG terminal in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, 5 Mar. 2022 Today, SR Trident performs broad diversity of both industrial and marine services at some of the area’s key facilities, such as Enbridge Energy’s oil export terminal in Ingleside. David Blackmon, Forbes, 23 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of terminal


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a


1838, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for terminal


Latin terminalis, from terminus

Learn More About terminal

Time Traveler for terminal

Time Traveler

The first known use of terminal was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near terminal



terminal arborization

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Statistics for terminal

Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Terminal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terminal. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for terminal


ter·​mi·​nal | \ ˈtər-mə-nᵊl How to pronounce terminal (audio) \

Kids Definition of terminal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: relating to or forming an end branches with terminal buds



Kids Definition of terminal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : either end of a transportation line or a passenger or freight station located at it the bus terminal
2 : a device (as in a computer system) used to put in, receive, and display information He typed his request into the terminal.
3 : a device at the end of a wire or on a machine for making an electrical connection


ter·​mi·​nal | \ ˈtərm-nəl, -ən-ᵊl How to pronounce terminal (audio) \

Medical Definition of terminal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being at an end, extremity, boundary, or terminus the terminal phalanx of a finger
2a : leading ultimately to death : fatal terminal cancer
b : approaching or close to death : being in the final stages of a fatal disease a terminal patient
c : of or relating to patients with a terminal illness terminal care
3 : being at or near the end of a chain of atoms making up a molecule the terminal carbon

Other Words from terminal

terminally \ -​ē How to pronounce terminal (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of terminal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a part that forms an end especially : nerve ending synthesis of a neurotransmitter in the presynaptic terminal of a neuron — R. J. Wurtman

More from Merriam-Webster on terminal

Nglish: Translation of terminal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of terminal for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about terminal


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