Word of the Day : July 26, 2011

exterminate

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verb ik-STER-muh-nayt

Definition

: to get rid of completely usually by killing off

Did You Know?

Originally, to exterminate something was to banish it or drive it away. And it is this meaning that can be found in the Latin origin of "exterminate." "Exterminate" comes from "exterminatus," the past participle of "exterminare," meaning "to drive beyond the boundaries." The Latin word "exterminare" was formed from the prefix "ex-" ("out of" or "outside") and "terminus" ("boundary"). Not much more than a century after its introduction to English, "exterminate" came to denote destroying or utterly putting an end to something. And that's the use with which the word is usually employed today.


Examples

We finally had to call a professional to exterminate the cockroaches in our apartment.

"The movie-like game would feature a pesky race of aliens called The Seekers, who were out to exterminate humanity." -- From Harold Goldberg's 2011 book All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture



Word Family Quiz

What adjective descends from "terminus" and means "firmly resolved"? The answer is ...


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