One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The earliest possible date for something.
- ‘In fact, the chapter's conclusion only states a terminus a quo with any conviction, while his earlier confidence regarding a terminus ante quem seems to disappear unexplainably.’
- ‘We can establish a terminus a quo, the earliest possible date at which the book could have been finalized.’
- ‘These may give a terminus a quo but will never give an airtight terminus ad quem unless you know that the manuscript is autograph; you may be sure that a poem or a letter was written in 1540, but it may have been transcribed in 1680.’
- ‘If the terminus a quo does not lie within the decade A.D.70-80, it cannot well be pushed back earlier than A.D.95.’
- 1.1 A starting point or initial impulse.
- ‘We are at the beginning of this school year - the terminus a quo.’
- ‘The terminus a quo of the whole period is the issuing of a decree ‘to restore and to build Jerusalem.’’
Latin, literally ‘end from which’.
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