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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The Summit Trailhead, located on the side of Oregon 6, is the southern terminus of the trail. oregonlive, "Hiking through the Tillamook Burn: An Oregon forest recovers, decades after devastating fires," 14 Oct. 2020 The discovery of oil near Waterloo, the southern terminus of the Reader, increased the company's freight business and inaugurated a crude oil transport business. Tom Dillard, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | TOM DILLARD: The hidden power of Lilliput Lines," 4 Oct. 2020 One of the project’s top selling points, for the developers and commissioners alike, is its location at the terminus of the future Mid-Coast Trolley line, connecting downtown to University City, as well as its proximity to housing. Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Major overhaul slated for strip mall next to UTC, new trolley line," 24 Sep. 2020 Los Angeles lies at the northern terminus of the southern San Andreas fault, Ampuero notes. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "Curved rock etchings reveal which way dangerous faults ruptured—and how they might again," 23 Sep. 2020 At Canal Basin, the original northern terminus of the 1832 Ohio & Erie Canal, asphalt has been laid for the northernmost section of the Towpath, which will also be finished next year. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Cleveland Metroparks’ TIGER Trails will provide seamless, car-free connectivity to regional parks, trails, waterfronts," 23 Aug. 2020 The jutting shelf of ice of the Negri glacier terminus, captured by de Agostini in 1913, has been replaced by vegetation. Hazel Pfeifer, CNN, "Explorer's mission to photograph a century of climate change in Patagonia," 4 Aug. 2020 On June 1, the professional ultrarunner set out from the trail’s western terminus in St. Croix Falls with the goal of doing that while raising money for Feeding America and the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "16 days and more than 700 miles in, Ice Age Trail record is still within grasp of ultrarunner," 17 June 2020 The eastern terminus is the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. John Pana, cleveland, "The best bike & hike trails in Northeast Ohio," 23 June 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about terminus

Time Traveler for terminus

Time Traveler

The first known use of terminus was circa 1617

See more words from the same year

Statistics for terminus

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Terminus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terminus. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for terminus


How to pronounce terminus (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of terminus

: the end of a travel route (such as a rail or bus line) or the station at the end of a travel route
technical : the end of something


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 termini (audio) , -​ˌnē How to pronounce termini (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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on terminus

What made you want to look up terminus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!