Definition of terminal in English:



  • 1attributive Forming or situated at the end or extremity of something.

    ‘a terminal date’
    ‘the terminal tip of the probe’
    • ‘The terminal date of 1914 offers a retrospective view of developments during the previous half-century.’
    • ‘However, the pewter in the current exhibition leads one to extend the terminal date proposed by either author.’
    • ‘Those statutes set terminal dates for servants arriving without written indentures; in any event they seem to have applied only to English servants.’
    • ‘Sometimes, even the terminal degree may be outside the direct disciplinary focus of the hiring department.’
    • ‘Pending a detailed examination of the needs of the telecom sector, I propose to extend the terminal date to March 31, 2005.’
    • ‘As a terminal assessment at the end of the project, the children were asked to write another story about the same picture.’
    • ‘In the former case the charterer gives orders for the employment of the vessel which cannot reasonably be expected to be performed by the final terminal date.’
    end, extreme
    final, last, concluding, closing, ultimate, finishing, terminating
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Of or forming a transport terminal.
      ‘the terminal building’
      • ‘But police at the airport reviewed the decision and have asked wardens to enforce established rules which prohibit drivers from waiting near terminal buildings.’
      • ‘An airport security official, who did not want to be identified, said the bomb rocked the front of the terminal building, smashing windows and causing considerable damage.’
      • ‘A new control tower will be constructed away from the main terminal building and the Authority will also carry out an extension and refurbishing of the fire station.’
      • ‘Upon arriving at the terminal building, I was astonished to see only one harried police officer whose job it was to ensure that cars weren't left unattended curbside.’
      • ‘The passengers were kept on the aircraft until 1200, at which point they were transported to the airfield's old terminal building.’
    2. 1.2Zoology Situated at, forming, or denoting the end of a part or series of parts furthest from the centre of the body.
      ‘the terminal segments of the antennae’
      • ‘Each radial canal ends in a terminal tube foot, which has a sensory function.’
      • ‘The terminal segment carries a pair of silk-producing spinnerets.’
      • ‘In many ammonites the terminal body chamber is relatively large, inflated, and with a constricted aperture or apertural appendages.’
      • ‘The terminal segment of the antenna is called the arista.’
      • ‘Separately, a sample of somatic tissue (the terminal tip of the foot or adductor muscle) was also taken from each specimen.’
    3. 1.3Botany (of a flower, inflorescence, etc.) borne at the end of a stem or branch.
      ‘terminal buds’
      Often contrasted with axillary
      • ‘To obtain larger cut flowers, remove all but the terminal bud of each stem on the plant when the buds are small.’
      • ‘For plants that develop a terminal flower or inflorescence, the leaf number below the flower can be used to provide additional information about the timing of developmental events.’
      • ‘Each branch has one terminal bud at the very end, and many lateral branches along the sides.’
      • ‘Leaf length was measured from the tip of the terminal leaflet down to the base of the petiole at the site of attachment to the stem.’
      • ‘Flower buds are borne on new shoots emerging from the terminal branches at the end of the cool, dry season.’
  • 2(of a disease) predicted to lead to death, especially slowly; incurable.

    ‘terminal cancer’
    • ‘I would expect the incidents of terminal diseases such as cancer or heart disease will increase if you don't do anything to prevent it.’
    • ‘As highlighted in a recent review, the distinction between critical illness and terminal illness is often not easily made.’
    • ‘Before I was 21, I had already lost one friend to a terminal disease, cancer.’
    • ‘People usually assume a terminal illness when thinking about the end of life.’
    • ‘We have witnessed the birth of a first child, shared in the delivery of the news of a chronic terminal illness, and have been the last to hold the hand of a loved one.’
    • ‘These three patients show how chemotherapy can sometimes reverse the catastrophic physiological state of terminal cancer, even in seemingly hopeless cases.’
    • ‘The medal was presented to her shortly before her death from a terminal illness.’
    • ‘Because terminal illness and death are deeply personal experiences, the wishes of the dying patient should be considered.’
    • ‘A good number of people suffering from terminal illnesses like cancer or HIV infection or neurological problems also have been known to commit suicides.’
    • ‘Bereavement often begins during a terminal disease phase and continues after the patient's death.’
    • ‘Nova Scotia has no hospices, so patients with terminal cancer must die in hospital or at home.’
    • ‘For example, someone with terminal cancer might write that they do not want to be put on a respirator (breathing machine) if they stop breathing.’
    • ‘The authors of the essays in this book offer great insight into the issues surrounding terminal illness and impending death.’
    • ‘Her chest radiograph showed confluent shadowing associated with terminal disease.’
    • ‘Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and terminal illness.’
    • ‘He died from terminal pneumonia in the coronary care unit that he had designed many years before.’
    • ‘To qualify for the study, participants had to have a life expectancy of six months or less and have terminal cancer or heart disease.’
    • ‘My illness is classed as life-threatening but not terminal.’
    • ‘This disease is terminal and the death is slow and agonising.’
    • ‘A poor nutritional status by itself is not necessarily a valid indication for gastrostomy placement as it may be the result of an advanced terminal disease.’
    • ‘It is like watching someone dying a slow, painful death - like a terminal cancer.’
    incurable, untreatable, inoperable, end-stage
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    1. 2.1attributive Suffering from or relating to a terminal disease.
      ‘a hospice for terminal cases’
      • ‘Under current law, euthanasia is restricted to terminal patients suffering unbearable pain with no hope of improvement, and who request to die when they are of sound mind.’
      • ‘Now that the ‘natural death’ amendments have been passed by the legislature, I hope Taiwan will soon have more hospice wards to take care of terminal patients.’
      • ‘Specialist hospices for people with advanced dementia, focusing on terminal care, have existed in the United States for some time.’
      • ‘Dying patients' rights to information about their condition are often, in practice, poorly protected in the context of terminal care.’
      • ‘So we have decided to do the best we can for her medically and offer her the dignity and compassion that we can, even if we know that what we really are offering is terminal care.’
      • ‘The family physician has the difficult task of helping the family make decisions about terminal care.’
      • ‘Should the obligation to care for this terminal patient stand in the way of finding cures for the many patients who might suffer in the future?’
      dying, near death
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2attributive (of a condition) forming the last stage of a terminal disease.
      • ‘She has undergone nine cardiac procedures as a result and her condition is terminal.’
      • ‘He was told she was in the terminal stages of the disease.’
      • ‘Skills in palliative care are an important component of good management in the terminal stages of the condition, and communication is particularly crucial at this point.’
      • ‘Towards the end, she was in a terminal condition, not in a distant sense, but in the short-term, she was not absorbing the food that she was being given artificially by a PEG tube.’
      • ‘Patients expressed a continuing need for hope even when they knew and accepted that they were in the terminal stages of disease and had a limited life expectancy.’
      • ‘Doctors told the family her condition was terminal, although they don't link the standard of care she received with her death.’
      • ‘There was no huge weight loss, she had a healthy appetite right up until the end, and while there was shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, it was not too severe until the very final terminal stages when she had to be put on oxygen.’
      • ‘I know about that because we have rehomed a black Pomeranian during the terminal stages of his owner's illness.’
      • ‘Yasser Arafat is reported to be very ill; descriptions of his condition vary, but it seems possible that his condition is terminal.’
      • ‘There were even clubs opened for those in the terminal stages of HIV.’
      • ‘In the terminal stages of this disease, the front hoof falls off, leaving the animal maimed for life.’
    3. 2.3informal Extreme and usually beyond cure or alteration (used for emphasis)
      ‘an industry in terminal decline’
      ‘you're making a terminal ass of yourself’
      • ‘Many people are very concerned that if farming goes into terminal decline our food supplies will have to come from abroad.’
      • ‘A certain amount of hat-eating has taken place among his enemies, because congestion charging really works and has done much to alleviate the terminal gridlock that had central London in its grip.’
      • ‘Till then film-going nation-wide had been in an apparent terminal decline for years.’
      • ‘There is an element of wanderlust, and a terminal lack of responsibility probably.’
      • ‘But a terminal inability to remember to ask people if they wanted salt and vinegar meant that every other portion had to be unwrapped and rewrapped - by which time the paper was rendered useless.’
      • ‘‘The character on stage is a terminal fantasist,’ he said.’
      • ‘The town is in terminal decline and has hardly anything to attract shoppers and visitors.’
      • ‘I doubt that low turnouts across Europe provide evidence of terminal apathy among the voters, far less that they signal the end of liberal democracy as we know it - as one commentator suggested last week.’
      • ‘The game itself, in the face of financial chaos, seems in real danger of terminal collapse.’
      • ‘The trouble with these surveys, aside from their terminal lack of point, is that they insist on making silly comparisons.’
      • ‘I don't have anything personal against them - it just bugs me that they go on and on about the rough deal dealt to them and the fact that they say the service is in terminal decline.’
      • ‘If terminal disagreements occur, they would be allowed to reconsider their participation in the coalition agreement.’
      • ‘It's more that they think his political condition might now be terminal.’
      • ‘I try hard to keep track of the departing guests on the way out, but by the third hotel stop, I'm in a terminal muddle: no matter how many times I crosscheck with the pile of lists on my clipboard, I seem to be one down.’
      complete, utter, absolute, total, real, thorough, out-and-out, downright, consummate, perfect, veritable
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  • 3Done or occurring each school, college, university, or law term.

    ‘terminal examinations’
    • ‘From the faculty perspective, the advantage of a terminal leave over a cash payment is that benefits often continue to accrue while a faculty member is on leave.’


  • 1The end of a railway or other transport route, or a station at such a point.

    ‘a freight terminal’
    ‘a ferry terminal’
    • ‘I checked in at the ferry terminal while my sister parked the car.’
    • ‘In the name of fighting terrorism, transit riders are now being subjected to random police searches and armed troops are patrolling busy terminals and subway stations.’
    • ‘Even so, I for one have long felt that these projects give more than they take by returning the pulse of life to great urban railroad terminals.’
    • ‘The North and South coach yards were separated by the engine terminal.’
    • ‘Detectives believe they will try to flee the UK and all ports, airports, ferry terminals and railway stations were alerted to the possibility as soon as officers had details of their identities over a week ago.’
    • ‘This means there's investment in railways and bus terminals as well as increased spending on display signs for motorways and parking.’
    • ‘The transport strike involved around 10,000 workers at 70 bus and road haulage companies and 12 freight terminals.’
    • ‘The omnipresence of television is now reflected even in bus terminals, railway stations and, why even hospitals, he points out.’
    • ‘The peak flow of human traffic from the railway stations and from bus terminals will occur on Thursday.’
    • ‘Interchanges between urban transport modes, terminals and stations are the locations where most barriers exist.’
    • ‘And every time I am at Toronto's main railway or bus terminals I have an eye out for stray packages.’
    • ‘At present, Ukraine's ports are able to process up to 15 per cent more freight than the rail terminals.’
    • ‘The two girls walked out of the station towards the bus terminal.’
    • ‘To those who control the narrow entry and export points - the container terminals - freight shipping is turning out to be liquid gold.’
    • ‘The other features of the City include - a five star hotel, helipad international school, railway station, bus terminal, restaurants and a shopping complex.’
    stopping place, stop, halt, station stop, stage
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A departure and arrival building for air passengers at an airport.
      • ‘The airport terminal was a tin-roofed shack that received just one international flight.’
      • ‘An airline was condemned today for charging a passenger the equivalent of half his airfare to take him from the airport terminal to the plane in a wheelchair.’
      • ‘You don't know the airport, the terminal, the airline, or the time of the flight.’
      • ‘The service can be accessed anywhere in the airport's four terminals for rates ranging from 35 cents a minute to $9 per day.’
      • ‘Preliminary planning for the facility's airline passenger terminal began early last month.’
      • ‘Passengers at airports and terminals across the country waited for hours for flights that did not materialise.’
      • ‘Currently, both international and domestic services use the same terminal at the airport.’
      • ‘The terminal was reopened and airport operations resumed after a bomb squad used a robot to remove the pipe-shaped object.’
      • ‘The counter is located in the baggage claim area in the airport terminal.’
      • ‘The airport offers both rental cars and courtesy transportation, as well as fuel, parking, a public telephone and restrooms in a passenger terminal and lounge.’
      • ‘It called for more rigorous training of the workers who screen passengers entering airport terminals.’
      • ‘The consultation document suggested building new terminals at Manchester Airport and raised the tentative prospect of a third runway even though the second one is just two years old.’
      • ‘After landing safely, the passengers had to wait 10 hours in the airport terminal before resuming their journey in a replacement aircraft.’
      • ‘Just take a look at the planes that are lined up outside the general aviation terminal at your airport.’
      • ‘The Government is set to give the go-ahead to the building of a second terminal at Dublin Airport before the summer.’
      • ‘The Kansas City airport terminals were evacuated and passengers took shelter in tunnels, but there were no deaths reported in the metropolitan area of over one million people.’
      • ‘The new terminal will permit the airport to handle 35 million passengers a year, more than California's entire population.’
      • ‘Interestingly, the biggest and most complex buildings in the country, the airport terminals, get built to time and to budget, but in the private sector.’
      • ‘But it may take some time yet for passengers to get used to navigating the new terminal, and for now airport staff are on hand to direct passengers around the terminal.’
      • ‘‘I ride it through airport terminals, down the jetway and right to the plane,’ Pearl says.’
      station, last stop, end of the line
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 An installation where oil or gas is stored at the end of a pipeline or at a port.
      • ‘From the oil reserves in the Caspian Sea the pipeline runs through Azerbaijan and Georgia to a tanker terminal on the coast of Turkey.’
      • ‘Union members working in the offices were asked to stay at home and the union refused to allow crew changes at oil platforms and export terminals, but had not asked members there to down tools.’
      • ‘Tanker lorries fill up at the fuel terminals and deliver to petrol stations across the country but jet fuel is usually distributed through underground pipes.’
      • ‘Keeping up activity levels is important because it makes infrastructure such as pipelines and terminals more efficient to build and run.’
      • ‘It isn't easy living on the Al Basra oil terminal.’
      • ‘In short, wholesale prices go down in summer when the nation requires less heating and the pipelines and storage terminals are full then rise in winter when the opposite happens.’
      • ‘The terminal can store more than 12 000 cu m of bulk oil components at a time.’
      • ‘He said the local authority has been continuously monitoring operations on the gas terminal and pipeline developments to ensure that planning conditions are not breached.’
      • ‘Mazheikiu operates the only refinery in the Baltics and owns an oil terminal and pipelines.’
      • ‘For months, China and Japan had been vying to determine the terminal of the proposed pipeline from Siberian oil fields.’
      • ‘You have about 14 U.N. inspectors at each of the two export terminals - one a pipeline going out of the northern fields and an export terminal in the south.’
      • ‘A terminal for loading petroleum products will be added later.’
      • ‘However, because of problems with the oil for food program, tankers were not able to lift the oil from the terminal at the Turkish port.’
      • ‘The cost of constructing the pipelines and oil terminals in the south was earlier estimated at US $719 million.’
      • ‘The capacity of both the pipeline and the terminal could double, reaching up to 120 million tons a year.’
      • ‘What this assumption fails to take into account, however, is that the investment required to build the tankers and terminals to store this gas is very large.’
  • 2A point of connection for closing an electric circuit.

    ‘battery terminals’
    • ‘For that reason, it is generally not a good idea to connect the two terminals of a battery to one another directly.’
    • ‘To test a spark plug, I put the ohmmeter probes on the center electrode and the wire terminal.’
    • ‘Circuit breakers with plug-in-style quick-connect terminals simplify installation and replacement, and they may also be soldered.’
    • ‘The zinc and the copper are the anode and cathode terminals of your potato battery.’
    • ‘It didn't have a discharge button and I wasn't about to experiment with short-circuiting the battery terminals.’
    • ‘A circuit arrangement for supplying a discharge lamp with a direct current includes input terminals for connection to a supply voltage source.’
    • ‘An electrical connection between a high voltage terminal and a spark plug head.’
    • ‘Both have wires that attach to the battery terminals.’
    • ‘Electrons collect on the negative terminal of the battery.’
    • ‘Solemnly we counted down, and he connected the wire to the terminals of the lorry battery that powered the whole thing.’
    • ‘The positive and negative terminals of a battery are always, respectively, positive and negative.’
    • ‘The at least two terminals include two current control terminals for connection at two locations in another circuit.’
    • ‘And then I must have jiggled the machine slightly, causing the battery to make a proper connection with the terminals, because I suddenly got god knows how many volts straight across my forearm.’
    • ‘I remember that last time I used it there was a crusty build up on the battery terminals, which is still there, so I wonder whether that could be the problem.’
    • ‘And yet, in Wales, at least in this part of Wales, it's been like nothing so much as having been wired to the terminals of a dead battery.’
    • ‘An anode terminal is electrically connected to the portion of the anode lead wire extending from the anode body.’
    • ‘The source of electricity will have two terminals: a positive terminal and a negative terminal.’
    • ‘Its positive terminal is connected to the anode and its negative terminal to the cathode where the reduction of the metal ion takes place.’
    • ‘When you hook up a battery's two terminals to a circuit, the battery forces electrons to flow through the circuit from one terminal to the other.’
  • 3A device at which a user enters data or commands for a computer system and which displays the received output.

    • ‘Photographs of works may be displayed on the Museum's website or a computer terminal in the exhibition for educational purposes.’
    • ‘Well, they have removed the round lunch tables from half of the press room and filled it all with rows of computer desks and terminals.’
    • ‘Earlier we had even been allowed to briefly crowd into a tiny VIP room overlooking the actual computer terminals and huge data displays on the walls.’
    • ‘People had rushed to phones and computer terminals to call or e-mail loved ones to tell them that they were safe, she said, but added that the atmosphere was ‘solemn’.’
    • ‘A data processing terminal sends control commands to an external device to control the external device.’
    • ‘In manual processing you have to enter credit card information manually through an offline terminal.’
    • ‘Other sessions were held in a traditional pharmaceutics lab that included several networked computer terminals.’
    • ‘Commanders of lower tactical units will use portable computer terminals to receive satellite-supplied information.’
    • ‘Early terminals provided just a user interface, leaving the processing to powerful mainframes.’
    • ‘Crooks are preying on people using public access terminals for Internet banking.’
    • ‘Each morning intelligence analysts log on at their computer terminals and enter the Dictionary system.’
    • ‘Once the author finds an appropriate photo, the image is called up and displayed at the workstation terminal.’
    • ‘Every keystroke on the terminal goes over the network unencrypted.’
    • ‘The latest phase of the installation will include terminals that offer email and internet services.’
    • ‘Participants pay by touching a payment terminal at the checkout register.’
    • ‘A very well groomed young woman sat at a computer terminal working on a spreadsheet.’
    • ‘A small information centre where there are a few terminals for net surfing as well as terminals for computer games are also part of the library.’
    • ‘I especially liked the computer terminals displaying the locations of various spaceships.’
    • ‘Pollsters sit in front of a computer terminal and enter the responses they're given.’
    • ‘She moved to the forward curved wall of the room and hummed quietly to herself as she tapped out a few commands on the computer terminal.’
    workstation, vdu, visual display unit, pc, input device, output device
    View synonyms
  • 4

    another term for terminus (sense 3 of the noun)
    • ‘A terminal figure at the other end of Queen Mary Street would impress the view by giving something towards which to head.’
    • ‘The white statuary blockings carved with rosettes above terminal figures headed by a boy's head, each turned slightly differently and headed with ionic capitals which support the blockings.’
    • ‘Renditions of the heron are common in Celtic art, ranging from simple terminal figures to complex intertwined knotwork.’
  • 5British A patient suffering from a terminal illness.


Early 19th century: from Latin terminalis, from terminus ‘end, boundary’.