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

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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
Seoul even threatened to terminate a military intelligence-sharing agreement with Tokyo that was a major symbol of their three-way security cooperation with Washington. Chris Megerian, BostonGlobe.com, 28 Sep. 2022 In Florida, state Rep. Anthony Sabatini called for legislation that would terminate the parental rights of adults who take their kids to drag events. Heidi Stevens, Chicago Tribune, 23 Sep. 2022 September 13 is also the day that Twitter's shareholders are set to vote on whether to approve Elon Musk's $44 billion takeover deal -- which Musk wants to terminate. Andrew Torgan, CNN, 11 Sep. 2022 Now, Twitter and Mr. Musk are locked in a legal battle as the multibillionaire seeks to terminate his takeover of the company. Salvador Rodriguez, WSJ, 1 Sep. 2022 Planned Parenthood of Illinois has estimated that 20,000 to 30,000 additional patients will travel here to terminate a pregnancy each year after Roe’s demise. Angie Leventis Lourgos, Chicago Tribune, 19 Sep. 2022 The name will replace Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium after Capital One Bank and the school agreed to terminate their partnership. Edward Lee, Baltimore Sun, 16 Sep. 2022 An attorney for Kanye West, who goes by Ye, told the Associated Press that a letter has been sent to the clothing chain Thursday seeking to terminate the contract between Gap and West’s company, Yeezy. BostonGlobe.com, 15 Sep. 2022 In April, a New York state judge upheld Trump's right to continue to operate the course after former Mayor Bill de Blasio attempted to terminate Trump's operating license following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Aaron Katersky, ABC News, 15 Sep. 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 3 Oct. 2022.

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Kids Definition

terminate

verb

ter·​mi·​nate ˈtər-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce terminate (audio)
terminated; terminating
: end entry 2, close
I terminated my membership.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on terminate

Last Updated: 3 Oct 2022

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