ter·mi·nal | \ˈtərm-nəl, 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

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Other Words from terminal


terminally adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for terminal

Synonyms: Adjective

baleful, deadly, deathly, fatal, fell, killer, lethal, mortal, murderous, pestilent, vital

Antonyms: Adjective

healthful, healthy, nonfatal, nonlethal, wholesome

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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


She was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was suffering from terminal boredom. another person with terminal stupidity branches that end in a terminal bud


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Alfie Evans is a nearly 2-year-old British toddler with a mysterious, terminal degenerative neurological condition. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "The controversy surrounding terminally ill British toddler Alfie Evans, explained," 27 Apr. 2018 The strategy, along with other immuno-oncology, or IO approaches, has been remarkably effective in a small subset of cancer patients—and has even cured some people with terminal disease. Clifton Leaf, Fortune, "A Cancer Blockbuster Gets Approved in China. Will the Floodgates Now Open?," 15 June 2018 Previous episodes have hinted at his suffering some terminal disease, and this one suggested that his sleek apartment was a sort of lab, a holding cell sealing him off from the world as doctors searched for a cure. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Westworld and the Question of Immortality," 13 May 2018 But the power of patient-lobbyists became apparent after a successful campaign by AIDS patients led to government action and a national push to find drugs to treat the then-terminal disease. NBC News, "Patient advocacy groups take in millions from drugmakers. Is there a payback?," 8 Apr. 2018 The new rules won't apply to hospice patients or those with terminal conditions, patients in inpatient settings or patients already being treated for chronic pain unless their dosages increase. Jackie Borchardt, cleveland.com, "Gov. John Kasich proposes new opioid rules for chronic pain patients," 2 May 2018 Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson, 89, is in a Las Vegas hospital battling a terminal illness. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "Jackson Family Patriarch Joe Jackson Hospitalized With Terminal Cancer," 22 June 2018 Jackson, 89, had been hospitalized for terminal cancer and has a history of health issues. Deasia Paige, Detroit Free Press, "Joe Jackson, Michael Jackson's dad and Jackson 5 founder, dies at 89," 27 June 2018 Joe Jackson, patriarch of the Jackson family, is dead after being hospitalized with terminal cancer. Philip Potempa, Post-Tribune, "Joe Jackson remembered as 'strong-willed' catalyst behind Gary's legendary musical family," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Currently, a northbound Pace 213 bus originates at the Davis Street bus terminal in downtown Evanston and travels north on Green Bay Road along the Union Pacific Metra railroad line. Karen Berkowitz, chicagotribune.com, "Proposal looks to eliminate alternate Pace route along Green Bay Road," 17 Apr. 2018 The eight-story building would replace a former Greyhound bus terminal, which has been abandoned since the company moved to its current Richards Boulevard site in 2011. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "Eight-story apartment building being planned for ex-bus terminal site | The Sacramento Bee," 11 Apr. 2018 Crude shippers began investing in crude-loading terminals early this decade, when oil prices were higher and pipelines weren’t keeping pace with growing production. Robert Tuttle, Bloomberg.com, "Canada's Crude-by-Rail Terminals Sit Idle as Oil Glut Grows," 26 Mar. 2018 Emerging from buses into the scorching sun, about 150 undocumented immigrants just released from federal custody huddled behind the bus terminal. Todd Heisler, New York Times, "A Long Journey North for Migrants That May End Where It Started," 30 June 2018 Islam ran a small makeshift food business on the side of the street, near a bus terminal, in Dhaka. Swati Gupta And Sugam Pokharel, CNN, "Bangladesh defends war on drugs as body count mounts," 8 June 2018 Garnica's portrait is on the exterior wall of a bus terminal in the Villa Crespo neighborhood, where urban art is often displayed in murals. Almudena Calatrava, The Christian Science Monitor, "Argentines use murals to draw awareness to missing children," 24 May 2018 At the Greyhound bus terminal near the entrance to the Lodge highway in Detroit, Border Patrol agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) often patrol the station, observing passengers and questioning them. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Immigrants, Latinos in Michigan say Border Patrol agents racially profile," 17 May 2018 About 16 percent of its crude exports are stored in those terminals before sailing to their final destination in the U.S., China and India. Lucia Kassai, Houston Chronicle, "ConocoPhillips may be worse for Venezuela than U.S. sanctions," 11 May 2018

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.

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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

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Phrases Related to terminal

in terminal decline

terminally ill

Statistics for terminal

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for terminal

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

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More Definitions for terminal



English Language Learners Definition of terminal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



English Language Learners Definition of terminal (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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


ter·mi·nal | \ˈtər-mə-nᵊl \

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 \

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 \ \ 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

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Comments on terminal

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not any or not one

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