verb (used with object), ter·mi·nat·ed, ter·mi·nat·ing.

  1. to bring to an end; put an end to: to terminate a contract.
  2. to occur at or form the conclusion of: The countess’s soliloquy terminates the play.
  3. to bound or limit spatially; form or be situated at the extremity of.
  4. to dismiss from a job; fire: to terminate employees during a recession.

verb (used without object), ter·mi·nat·ed, ter·mi·nat·ing.

  1. to end, conclude, or cease.
  2. (of a train, bus, or other public conveyance) to end a scheduled run at a certain place: This train terminates in New York.
  3. to come to an end (often followed by at, in, or with).
  4. to issue or result (usually followed by in).


  1. (when intr, often foll by in or with) to form, be, or put an end (to); concludeto terminate a pregnancy; their relationship terminated amicably
  2. (tr) to connect (suitable circuitry) to the end of an electrical transmission line to absorb the energy and avoid reflections
  3. (intr) maths (of a decimal expansion) to have only a finite number of digits
  4. (tr) slang to kill (someone)

v.1610s, “to bring to an end,” from Latin terminatus, past participle of terminare “to limit, end” (see terminus). Sense of “to come to an end” is recorded from 1640s; meaning “dismiss from a job” is recorded from 1973; that of “to assassinate” is from 1975. Related: Terminated; terminating.

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