terminal

1 of 2

adjective

ter·​mi·​nal ˈtərm-nəl How to pronounce terminal (audio)
ˈtər-mə-nᵊl
1
a(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
2
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
terminally adverb

terminal

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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
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

Example Sentences

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
In 2013, Johnson was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas and was given 10 months to live. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 23 Nov. 2022 In early 2013, the English rock guitar legend disclosed he had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Nov. 2022 High school senior Ilonka (Iman Benson) is preparing her speech for graduation day when she's diagnosed with terminal thyroid cancer. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 31 Oct. 2022 Then Alan, who’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer, jumps or falls or is pushed off the roof of his country estate, to his death. Time, 27 Oct. 2022 An ageing ad exec retires to care for his son who has terminal cancer. John Hopewell, Variety, 31 Oct. 2022 The region is full of contradictions like these, both rustic and industrial, beautiful and blood-soaked, enormously important to the national economy but in terminal decline. BostonGlobe.com, 17 Sep. 2022 But digital downloads, the dominant music format as recently as 2015, appear to be in terminal decline. Scott Nover, Quartz, 15 Mar. 2022 Dollar doom typically assumes a big bang collapse and terminal decline. Paul Swartz, Fortune, 7 Oct. 2021
Noun
Ultimately, about 70% of the terminal will be new, with 30% remodeled. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 27 Nov. 2022 The first area is the economy lots, which allow cruisers to park and be shuttled to the cruise terminal. Megan Dubois, Chron, 11 Oct. 2022 Also an issue, for taxpayers, is the lack of a consistent revenue stream to offset the existing debt on the cruise terminal. al, 10 Oct. 2022 All guests must still submit proof of negative COVID-19 tests taken two days or less before sailing, or have to take a test before boarding at the cruise terminal. Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel, 25 Aug. 2022 Fully vaccinated guests who provide a negative Covid-19 test result taken one to two days before setting sail are exempt from testing at the cruise terminal. CNN, 15 Aug. 2022 The shuttle picks up right at the cruise terminal dock and drops off at the visitor center. Judy Koutsky, Forbes, 22 June 2022 Travelers will still need to follow local mask mandates at public ports of call, and masks should be worn at the cruise terminal during the boarding and screening process and during disembarkation. Bailey Schulz, USA TODAY, 21 Feb. 2022 We were tested again at the cruise terminal in San Diego prior to embarkation. Dan Fellner, The Arizona Republic, 2 Feb. 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.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Latin terminalis, from terminus

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Noun

1838, in the meaning defined at sense 4

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

Dictionary Entries Near terminal

Cite this Entry

“Terminal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terminal. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

terminal 1 of 2

adjective

ter·​mi·​nal ˈtərm-nəl How to pronounce terminal (audio)
-ən-ᵊl
1
a
: of, relating to, or forming an end
a terminal pillar of a temple
b
: growing at the end of a branch or stem
a terminal bud
2
a
: of, relating to, or occurring in a term or each term
make terminal payments on a car
b
: leading finally to death
a terminal illness
3
: occurring at or being the end of a period or series
terminally
adverb

terminal

2 of 2

noun

1
: a part that forms the end
2
: a device attached to the end of a wire or cable or to electrical equipment for making connections
3
a
: either end of a transportation line (as a railroad or shipping line) with its offices and freight and passenger stations
b
: a freight or passenger station that serves a large area or acts as a junction between lines
a bus terminal
c
: a town at the end of a transportation line
4
: a device (as in a computer system) used for data entry and display

Medical Definition

terminal 1 of 2

adjective

ter·​mi·​nal ˈtərm-nəl, -ən-ᵊl How to pronounce terminal (audio)
1
: of, relating to, or being at an end, extremity, boundary, or terminus
the terminal phalanx of a finger
2
a
: 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
terminally adverb

terminal

2 of 2

noun

: 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

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