Definition of terminate in English:



  • 1[with object] Bring to an end.

    ‘he was advised to terminate the contract’
    • ‘On the advice of their accountants, some record companies are terminating the contracts of world-renowned classical musicians.’
    • ‘It was argued that to determine a case is to decide, resolve, conclude, end, terminate or finish an argument.’
    • ‘For decades, budgets have been slashed and visionary programmes terminated in favour of more pragmatic goals.’
    • ‘So if the applicant's office or service was not lawfully terminated and he remained in office, he is entitled to his full salary for the present, so it is all academic, is it not?’
    • ‘When the work was more than half finished the homeowners terminated the contract.’
    • ‘This had an extant English precedent, in contrast with the system licensing newspapers that had been terminated in England, in large measure by inadvertence, in 1695.’
    • ‘Such arrangements will avoid the inconvenience of having services terminated or adding legal costs to a customer's bill.’
    • ‘As a result, data collection in these sites was terminated prior to achieving the targeted number of cases.’
    • ‘She went off on sick leave in early 1998 and her appointment was terminated in March that year.’
    • ‘So it's a big step forward but it isn't - I agree with John - going to terminate the whole terrorist problem.’
    • ‘Be aware that the employment relationship between the employee and the church will terminate when the worker leaves for active service with the National Guard.’
    • ‘During this two-year period the marriage cannot be annulled or terminated unless the spouse dies.’
    • ‘His commitment should have terminated in 1972.’
    • ‘However, if the person is not awarded tenure, the individual's contract is terminated no later than the end of the seventh year.’
    • ‘The council's executive board considered the implications of terminating the existing contract, which has one year left to run, but deferred any decision until next month.’
    • ‘You know, when you terminate someone's parental rights to their children, that's a heavy thing to do.’
    • ‘Since 2000, more than 9,000 such plans have been terminated, with more than twice terminated in 2004 than the previous year.’
    • ‘I have another I'm working on today which I'd better be careful of as my contract may be terminated quicker than I want if it gets into the wrong hands.’
    • ‘The Company's customers may terminate most service contracts for a variety of reasons, either immediately or upon notice of a future date.’
    • ‘The licences given to several petty shop-keepers will terminate in mid-December, and we plan to identify all such shops and their licences will be discontinued.’
    bring to an end, end, bring to a close, bring to a conclusion, close, conclude, finish, stop, put an end to, put a stop to, wind up, discontinue, break off, cease, cut short, bring to an untimely end, abort
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    1. 1.1End (a pregnancy) before term by artificial means.
      • ‘He chose to continue with the operation, terminating the pregnancy in the process.’
      • ‘In severe cases, detected early in pregnancy, the option of terminating the pregnancy may be considered.’
      • ‘However, smallpox vaccination usually is not a reason to terminate a pregnancy.’
      • ‘But if you do have an x-ray and later discover you are pregnant, the risks are not high enough to have to terminate the pregnancy.’
      • ‘Our patient's options were to terminate the pregnancy and undergo conventional treatment or to continue with the pregnancy and adjust treatment.’
      • ‘This may involve preparing for special care that will be needed after the birth, or choosing to terminate the pregnancy (have an abortion).’
      • ‘Their options include continuing the pregnancy and raising the child, continuing the pregnancy and seeking adoption placement for the child or terminating the pregnancy.’
      • ‘And even if they were available, antenatal counselling and the opportunity to terminate affected pregnancies safely may not be.’
      • ‘Where contraception is inaccessible or of poor quality, many women will seek to terminate unintended pregnancies, despite restrictive laws and lack of adequate abortion services.’
      • ‘Both couples have said that they would have terminated the pregnancy.’
      • ‘If the condition found cannot be treated, or if it causes severe disability in the child, the parents may decide to terminate the pregnancy.’
      • ‘I work as an obstetrician in a city where one in three pregnancies is terminated.’
      • ‘Her husband, parents, and in-laws had also counselled her but could not persuade her to terminate the pregnancy.’
      • ‘If the Government's abortion referendum is passed, pregnancies will only be terminated if the life of the mother is at risk - but not in the case of incest or rape.’
      • ‘Many women have testing done even though they have no intention of terminating an abnormal pregnancy.’
      • ‘The rate of deciding to terminate a pregnancy is also high when the specific disability of the fetus is known.’
      • ‘Induced abortions are those initiated voluntarily with the intention of terminating a pregnancy.’
      • ‘He added that it was a woman's choice whether she choose to terminate her pregnancy or take it to full term.’
      • ‘If the fetus is found to be affected, the patient may elect to terminate the pregnancy, which, in the first trimester, is associated with reduced maternal morbidity.’
      • ‘Once the fetal demise was diagnosed, pregnancy was terminated by medical induction, such that the products of conception were largely delivered intact.’
      abort, end
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    2. 1.2[no object](of a train, bus, or boat service) end its journey.
      ‘the train will terminate at Stratford’
      • ‘They begin in Moscow and terminate in either Vladivostok, the eastern Russian port, or Beijing in China.’
      • ‘It's more or less redundant because most of the busses begin or terminate at the bus station and so never use it.’
      • ‘A long wait there ensued, before a train pulled into the other platform, allegedly terminating there.’
      • ‘The train got into Jamaica right on time, and it terminated on Track 2.’
      • ‘Buses in fact run across the city in all directions and nobody suggests that they should terminate at points on the edge of the centre ten minutes walk from each other.’
      • ‘Services are going to terminate at St Pancras, and the station is being massively redeveloped.’
      • ‘We all got off at Kennington, because the train was terminating; he stumbles and falls over onto the other platform.’
      • ‘Services on city, suburban and commute routes will terminate earlier than normal and Eurolines services will not operate.’
      • ‘A woman who attacked two drivers after refusing to leave a bus which had terminated in Putney has been ordered to carry out 120 hours community service.’
      • ‘The victim was travelling home further into Kent but was told his train was terminating in Northfleet, leaving him stranded late at night in an unfamiliar area where a number of street robberies had recently taken place.’
      • ‘From what I have seen there appears to have been around six services in the morning that were terminating at Doncaster.’
      • ‘The driver told them the bus had terminated and asked them to leave, but they demanded to be taken on to Danebury Avenue.’
      • ‘Some trains will terminate at stations short of their destinations.’
      • ‘The doors closed, we trundled to the next station, then the train terminated.’
      • ‘The driver announces we will be moving into the platform soon, but the train will be terminating.’
      • ‘Only a few trains were originated and terminated at North Toronto and the move was just not popular.’
      • ‘Soon after ten we were told that the train would terminate at Birmingham International.’
      • ‘I refer to these lines as ‘branches’ because on weekends and in off-peak times, the services are not run into town, instead terminating at a station on a main line and connecting with those services to the city.’
      end its journey, finish up, stop
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    3. 1.3North American End the employment of (someone); dismiss.
      ‘Adamson's putting pressure on me to terminate you’
      • ‘During those discussions, the children of parents responsible for terminating employees talked about how their parents were affected by having to lay off long-time associates.’
      • ‘And again, we thought she was very beautiful and very nice, but she just wasn't able to fulfill her duties, and therefore, we had no choice but to terminate her.’
      • ‘Should you be terminated, you are entitled to file a grievance under the procedures set out in the Faculty Grievance Policies and Procedures.’
      • ‘When someone is terminated, sit down with each employee individually and tell them why that happened, Duffy says.’
      • ‘Even professional managers express profound anxiety about tasks like delivering negative evaluations and terminating employees.’
      • ‘The next day, she called me in and confronted me about the issue and terminated me since I had complaints before from patrons.’
      • ‘Should an employee be terminated no matter the severity of the problem?’
      • ‘These employees were terminated for their action.’
      • ‘Some policies, such as no drugs or alcohol on the camp property, are not negotiable and will result in the staff member being terminated.’
      • ‘Although the company claimed he was terminated for poor performance, McKnight proved them wrong.’
      • ‘Things eventually get so bad that one of the partners (at the behest of the board of directors) terminates the other partner, who is then escorted from the building by security.’
      • ‘An at-will policy allows employers to terminate workers at the company's discretion.’
      • ‘Their bosses can now terminate undocumented workers who join a union, without monetary consequences.’
      • ‘The board terminated the president and has made sure that such an occurrence will not be repeated by any other ambitious faculty or president.’
      • ‘He said that I would be better off if I resigned when I began looking for another job because I would not want it on my record that I was terminated.’
      • ‘Larry believes he was terminated because he was too old and not female.’
      • ‘One superintendent, one supervisor, one foreman and eight hourly employees were terminated.’
      • ‘For specific reasons, the employer chooses to continue the activity and then harasses, disciplines, or terminates the employee.’
      • ‘The Plaintiff testified that she was shocked that she was terminated from her employment.’
      • ‘For example, we once had to terminate an employee who excelled in profitability and productivity yet would not adhere to our safety rules and therefore did not conform to our safety culture.’
    4. 1.4North American euphemistic Murder (someone)
      ‘he was terminated by persons unknown’
  • 2[no object] (of a thing) have its end at (a specified place) or of (a specified form)

    ‘the chain terminated in an iron ball covered with spikes’
    • ‘The group took a thrilling helicopter ride over the glacier, which descends some 2,280 feet, terminating in a spectacular icefall that feeds the river.’
    • ‘The narrow streets that criss-cross these miniature villages terminate in squares with community wells and carved wooden chabutaras for feeding pigeons.’
    • ‘On this, the crystal and pearls are strung like a festoon of flowers, with hanging clusters terminating in big pieces of aqua quartz.’
    • ‘They plunge out on three simultaneous axes, each of which, in its own way, terminates in oblivion.’
    • ‘A road does not necessarily terminate in the same sector in which it begins.’
    • ‘The cascading stream makes a cheery companion as the track climbs steadily up through the forest for a couple of miles and eventually terminates in a wide clearing.’
    • ‘The boots terminate in a pair of sparkling golden spurs; his plate-metal doublet is bursting to contain his massive physique.’
    • ‘The end result is a three-storey, south-facing crescent, terminating in a taller building at either side, creating a book-end effect.’
    • ‘It comprised the upper half of an ensemble that terminated in a daffodil yellow skirt.’
    • ‘He led the way down a short hall that terminated in a room full of what had to be a lifetime of assorted knick-knacks.’
    1. 2.1archaic [with object]Form the physical end or extremity of (an area).
      • ‘The tennis complex terminates the Olympic site, and the centre court was designed to be a visual stop for the main axis, as well as a congenial focus for the sport.’


  • terminate someone with extreme prejudice

    • euphemistic Murder someone.

      • ‘They might send missiles or the guy next door might be about to terminate you with extreme prejudice.’
      • ‘If I told you I'd have to remotely terminate you with extreme prejudice immediately afterwards!’
      • ‘If you have a heavy-breathing guy in a mask trying to terminate you with extreme prejudice while you're doing this, your hands will probably be shaking, so add at least a minute to the process.’
      • ‘Jim and his companions are on a quest - to stay alive, to keep from becoming infected (because if you do your companions will instantly terminate you with extreme prejudice, not to mention extreme haste), and to figure out what the hell to do next.’


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘direct an action towards a specified end’): from Latin terminat- limited, ended, from the verb terminare, from terminus end, boundary.