terminate

1 of 2

verb

ter·​mi·​nate ˈtər-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce terminate (audio)
terminated; terminating

intransitive verb

1
: to form an ending
2
: to come to an end in time
3
: to extend only to a limit (such as a point or line)
especially : to reach a terminus

transitive verb

1
a
: to bring to an end : close
terminate a marriage by divorce
terminate a transmission line
b
: to discontinue the employment of
workers terminated because of slow business
c
: to form the conclusion of
review questions terminate each chapter
2
: to serve as an ending, limit, or boundary of
3

terminate

2 of 2

adjective

ter·​mi·​nate ˈtər-mə-nət How to pronounce terminate (audio)
: coming to an end or capable of ending
Choose the Right Synonym for terminate

close, end, conclude, finish, complete, terminate mean to bring or come to a stopping point or limit.

close usually implies that something has been in some way open as well as unfinished.

close a debate

end conveys a strong sense of finality.

ended his life

conclude may imply a formal closing (as of a meeting).

the service concluded with a blessing

finish may stress completion of a final step in a process.

after it is painted, the house will be finished

complete implies the removal of all deficiencies or a successful finishing of what has been undertaken.

the resolving of this last issue completes the agreement

terminate implies the setting of a limit in time or space.

your employment terminates after three months

Example Sentences

Verb The branches of that tree terminate in flower clusters. The rail line terminates in Boston. You have to terminate the program before the computer will shut down properly. His contract was terminated last month. He was terminated last month. Plans are being made to terminate unproductive employees. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Shane’s essay is a bracing call to arms in the post-Dobbs moment, unapologetically affirming the right of pregnant people to terminate their pregnancies. Sasha Frere-jones, Harper’s Magazine , 4 Nov. 2022 The right to terminate a pregnancy, after all, has long been protected by state law. Jean Marbella, Baltimore Sun, 19 Oct. 2022 According to general public school employment policies in Texas, school boards have a right to terminate a school district employee, including an administrator, for failure to perform duties or for good cause. Edgar Sandoval, BostonGlobe.com, 24 Aug. 2022 On Friday, the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, the 50-year-old ruling that guaranteed a person's Constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before viability (usually around 24 weeks). Jennifer Korn And Clare Duffy, CNN, 24 June 2022 Under current precedent, a woman has a right to terminate a pregnancy during the time period before a fetus is capable of life outside the womb, generally around 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy. Brent Kendall, WSJ, 4 May 2022 That said, the draft opinion reflects a welcome repudiation of Roe, a debacle that barely pretended to grapple with the Constitution in purporting to discover within it a fundamental right to terminate the life of unborn children. The Editors, National Review, 3 May 2022 The state began preparing last year for the likelihood of losing Roe vs. Wade and establishing California as a national leader in maintaining the right to terminate a pregnancy. Nanette Asimov, Andres Picon, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 May 2022 Miami-Dade County decided Friday to terminate its relationship with FTX, meaning the venue where the Miami Heat play will no longer be known as FTX Arena. Time, 17 Nov. 2022
Adjective
That control gave Puglisi the sole authority to set up new credit card accounts, change spending limits, manage card access and terminate accounts. Washington Post, 17 Aug. 2021 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English, from Latin terminatus, past participle of terminare, from terminus

First Known Use

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Cite this Entry

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

Kids Definition

terminate

verb

ter·​mi·​nate
ˈtər-mə-ˌnāt
terminated; terminating
1
a
: to bring or come to an end : close
terminate a meeting
b
: to form the conclusion of
review questions terminate each chapter
2
: to serve as a limit or boundary of : bound
a fence terminated the yard
3
: to reach an end point or line
the racecourse terminates at the park entrance
terminable
ˈtərm-(ə-)nə-bəl
adjective
termination
ˌtər-mə-ˈnā-shən
noun
terminator
ˈtər-mə-ˌnāt-ər
noun

Legal Definition

terminate

verb

ter·​mi·​nate ˈtər-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce terminate (audio)
terminated; terminating

intransitive verb

: to come to an end in time or effect

transitive verb

1
: to bring to a definite end especially before a natural conclusion
terminate a contract
compare cancel, rescind
2
: to discontinue the employment of
termination noun

More from Merriam-Webster on terminate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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