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

Examples of terminate in a Sentence

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
After a long stalemate, the city rescinded its notice to terminate the lease on June 5, meaning the camp lives to fight another day. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 12 June 2024 Trumpet Behavioral Health has terminated the employment of Lopez Nunez and begun an internal review, said a spokesperson for the company. Caelyn Pender, The Mercury News, 12 June 2024
Adjective
ChristianaCare, the state’s largest health care system and largest private employer, has stated that all employees must receive the first dose of the vaccine by Sept. 21, or the health system with terminate workers who don’t unless given an exemption. From Usa Today Network and Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 9 Aug. 2021 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 all Example Sentences for terminate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'terminate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 21 Jun. 2024.

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

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