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[tur-muh-ney-ter] /ˈtɜr məˌneɪ tər/
a person or thing that terminates.
Astronomy. the dividing line between the illuminated and the unilluminated part of a satellite or planet, especially the moon.
Origin of terminator
1760-70; < Late Latin terminātor, equivalent to terminā(re) to terminate + -tor -tor Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for terminator
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The "terminator" is the boundary between the lighted and the dark portion of the disc.

  • The liberation of the tiny planet and consequent shifting of the terminator was bringing frigidity to Vulcan's Workshop.

    Vulcan's Workshop Harl Vincent
  • The general shape of this line is never a circle but always elliptical, and astronomers call it the terminator.

    Astronomy David Todd
  • They would certainly be indicated on the terminator, and yet not a trace of such markings has been found.

    Mars and its Mystery Edward Sylvester Morse
  • If the Moon was as smooth as a billiard ball the terminator would be clear cut.

    Mars and its Mystery Edward Sylvester Morse
British Dictionary definitions for terminator


the line dividing the illuminated and dark part of the moon or a planet
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 terminator

1770, "line of separation between the bright and dark parts of a moon or planet," from Latin terminator, from terminare (see terminus). Meaning "one who terminates (something)" is attested from 1846.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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