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[ik-stur-muh-neyt] /ɪkˈstɜr məˌneɪt/
verb (used with object), exterminated, exterminating.
to get rid of by destroying; destroy totally; extirpate:
to exterminate an enemy; to exterminate insects.
Origin of exterminate
1535-45; < Latin exterminātus, past participle of extermināre to extermine; see -ate1
Related forms
[ik-stur-muh-nuh-buh l] /ɪkˈstɜr mə nə bəl/ (Show IPA),
extermination, noun
nonextermination, noun
self-extermination, noun
unexterminable, adjective
unexterminated, adjective
eradicate, abolish, annihilate, eliminate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for extermination
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His great plan of extermination of the British had completely failed.

    Famous Indian Chiefs Charles H. L. Johnston
  • It meant extermination; extermination in every way possible.

  • Alexis resolved to combine Christian Europe, if possible, in a war of extermination against the Turks.

    The Empire of Russia John S. C. Abbott
  • New England had just terminated a disastrous war of extermination.

    The Witch of Salem John R. Musick
  • Nations do not change such habits unless the change is forced on them, with the alternative of extermination.

British Dictionary definitions for extermination


(transitive) to destroy (living things, esp pests or vermin) completely; annihilate; eliminate
Derived Forms
exterminable, adjective
extermination, noun
exterminative, exterminatory, adjective
exterminator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin extermināre to drive away, from terminus boundary
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for extermination

mid-15c., "repulsion;" 1540s, "utter destruction," from Middle French extermination and directly from Latin exterminationem (nominative exterminatio), noun of action from past participle stem of exterminare (see exterminate).



1540s, "drive away," from Latin exterminatus, past participle of exterminare "drive out, expel, drive beyond boundaries," also, in Late Latin "destroy," from phrase ex termine "beyond the boundary," from ex- "out of" (see ex-) + termine, ablative of termen "boundary, limit, end" (see terminus).

Meaning "destroy utterly" is from 1640s in English, a sense found in equivalent words in French and in the Vulgate; earlier in this sense was extermine (mid-15c.). Related: Exterminated; exterminating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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