ter·​mi·​nus | \ ˈtər-mə-nəs How to pronounce terminus (audio) \
plural termini\ ˈtər-​mə-​ˌnī How to pronounce terminus (audio) , -​ˌnē \ or terminuses

Definition of terminus

1 : either end of a transportation line or travel route also : the station, town, or city at such a place : terminal
2 : an extreme point or element : tip the terminus of a glacier
3 : a final goal : a finishing point
4 : a post or stone marking a boundary

Did you know?

This word comes straight from Latin. In the Roman empire, a terminus was a boundary stone, and all boundary stones had a minor god associated with them, whose name was Terminus. Terminus was a kind of keeper of the peace, since wherever there was a terminus there could be no arguments about where your property ended and your neighbor's property began. So Terminus even had his own festival, the Terminalia, when images of the god were draped with flower garlands. Today the word shows up in all kinds of places, including in the name of numerous hotels worldwide built near a city's railway terminus.

Examples of terminus in a Sentence

Stockholm is the terminus for the southbound train. Geologists took samples from the terminus of the glacier. the terminus of the DNA strand
Recent Examples on the Web At the terminus, a cleaner was collecting the first detritus—coffee cups—from the gleaming trains. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 27 May 2022 Also visible to freeway motorists is Lareau’s Barnes Tennis Center, which opened in 1995 at the western terminus of Interstate 8, and is devoted to training young tennis players. San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 May 2022 Parts of Division, 4th, 8th and 16th streets and Plaza Boulevard create its jagged western terminus. San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Apr. 2022 One of the lines took passengers between Savannah and Atlanta, which has a history as a major rail terminus. J.d. Capelouto, ajc, 20 May 2022 The other is centered on the terminus of the Mississippi River. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 9 May 2022 Drop your bag then hop back on the #8 train for the 20-minute ride over the German border to the terminus at Weil am Rhein. Ryan Haase, WSJ, 21 Apr. 2022 The southern terminus is on the outskirts of Cincinnati. John Pana, cleveland, 4 Apr. 2022 For years, lingerie sizes came to a terminus at DD. Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of terminus

circa 1617, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for terminus

Latin, boundary marker, limit — more at term entry 1

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Time Traveler for terminus

Time Traveler

The first known use of terminus was circa 1617

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Dictionary Entries Near terminus

term insurance


terminus ad quem

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Statistics for terminus

Last Updated

24 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Terminus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terminus. Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for terminus


ter·​mi·​nus | \ ˈtər-mə-nəs How to pronounce terminus (audio) \
plural termini\ -​ˌnī , -​ˌnē \ or terminuses

Kids Definition of terminus

1 : an ending point
2 : the end of a travel route
3 : a station at the end of a travel route


ter·​mi·​nus | \ ˈtər-mə-nəs How to pronounce terminus (audio) \
plural termini\ -​ˌnī How to pronounce terminus (audio) , -​ˌnē How to pronounce terminus (audio) \ also terminuses

Medical Definition of terminus

: an end or ending especially of a molecular chain, a chromosome, or a process of a nerve cell


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