terminus

noun

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

Example Sentences

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 Mountain vistas emerge as the trail makes a barely noticeable uphill crawl to its northern terminus near the border of Tonto National Forest. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 29 Oct. 2022 The ordeal of puberty, Greenspan said, should be similarly understood: as a station of childhood, not its terminus. Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 27 Oct. 2022 Starting from the southern terminus at the Massachusetts border, the route heads into vibrant woods. Kristin Smith, Outside Online, 31 Aug. 2022 My secular cathedral is San Francisco's Ocean Beach, found at the western edge of the city, beyond Golden Gate Park, overlooking sea and sky and accessible as the terminus of the undulating N Judah line of the city's MUNI light rail. David G. Allan, CNN, 9 Aug. 2022 This usually includes surfaces belonging to an urban authority, such as the walls of the bus terminus or underneath the highway bridge. Gino Sesto, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2022 Connecting the lake and the Mount Washington terminus would complete the job. Christine Condon, Baltimore Sun, 3 Oct. 2022 Two recent studies reported in the media focus on the terminus of glaciers—i.e., where the ice, the ocean and the ground come together. Steven Koonin, WSJ, 19 Sep. 2022 Attractions by the tram terminus include Monopoly Dreams, an immersive experience based on the popular board game, Madame Tussauds wax museum and a range of shops and restaurants. Lilit Marcus, CNN, 26 Aug. 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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

circa 1617, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of terminus was circa 1617

Dictionary Entries Near terminus

Cite this Entry

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

Kids Definition

terminus

noun

ter·​mi·​nus ˈtər-mə-nəs How to pronounce terminus (audio)
plural termini -ˌnī How to pronounce terminus (audio)
-ˌnē
or terminuses
1
: final goal : finishing point
2
: a post or stone marking a boundary
3
a
: either end of a transportation line or travel route
b
: the station or town at such a place

Medical Definition

terminus

noun

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
: an end or ending especially of a molecular chain, a chromosome, or a process of a nerve cell
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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