View synonyms for term



[ turm ]


  1. a word or group of words designating something, especially in a particular field, as atom in physics, quietism in theology, adze in carpentry, or district leader in politics.
  2. any word or group of words considered as a member of a construction or utterance.
  3. the time or period through which something lasts.
  4. a period of time to which limits have been set:

    elected for a term of four years.

  5. one of two or more divisions of a school year, during which instruction is regularly provided.
  6. an appointed or set time or date, as for the payment of rent, interest, wages, etc.
  7. terms,
    1. conditions with regard to payment, price, charge, rates, wages, etc.:

      reasonable terms.

    2. conditions or stipulations limiting what is proposed to be granted or done:

      the terms of a treaty.

    3. footing or standing; relations:

      on good terms with someone.

    4. Obsolete. state, situation, or circumstances.
  8. Algebra, Arithmetic.
    1. each of the members of which an expression, a series of quantities, or the like, is composed, as one of two or more parts of an algebraic expression.
    2. a mathematical expression of the form axp, axpyq, etc., where a, p, and q are numbers and x and y are variables.
  9. Logic.
    1. the subject or predicate of a categorical proposition.
    2. the word or expression denoting the subject or predicate of a categorical proposition.
  10. Also called terminus. a figure, especially of Terminus, in the form of a herm, used by the ancient Romans as a boundary marker; terminal figure.
  11. Law.
    1. an estate or interest in land or the like, to be enjoyed for a fixed period.
    2. the duration of an estate.
    3. each of the periods during which certain courts of law hold their sessions.
  12. completion of pregnancy; parturition.
  13. Archaic.
    1. end, conclusion, or termination.
    2. boundary or limit.

verb (used with object)

  1. to apply a particular term or name to; name; call; designate.



abbreviation for

  1. terminal.
  2. termination.


/ tɜːm /


  1. a name, expression, or word used for some particular thing, esp in a specialized field of knowledge

    a medical term

  2. any word or expression
  3. a limited period of time

    a prison term

    his second term of office

  4. any of the divisions of the academic year during which a school, college, etc, is in session
  5. a point in time determined for an event or for the end of a period
  6. Also calledfull term the period at which childbirth is imminent
  7. law
    1. an estate or interest in land limited to run for a specified period

      a term of years

    2. the duration of an estate, etc
    3. (formerly) a period of time during which sessions of courts of law were held
    4. time allowed to a debtor to settle
  8. maths either of the expressions the ratio of which is a fraction or proportion, any of the separate elements of a sequence, or any of the individual addends of a polynomial or series
  9. logic
    1. the word or phrase that forms either the subject or predicate of a proposition
    2. a name or variable, as opposed to a predicate
    3. one of the relata of a relation
    4. any of the three subjects or predicates occurring in a syllogism
  10. Also calledterminalterminusterminal figure architect a sculptured post, esp one in the form of an armless bust or an animal on the top of a square pillar
  11. Australian rules football the usual word for quarter
  12. archaic.
    a boundary or limit


  1. tr to designate; call

    he was termed a thief


/ tûrm /

  1. Each of the quantities or expressions that form the parts of a ratio or the numerator and denominator of a fraction.
  2. Any of the quantities in an equation that are connected to other quantities by a plus sign or a minus sign.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈtermly, adverb

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Other Words From

  • termly adverb
  • half-term noun
  • inter·term adjective
  • mis·term verb (used with object)

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Word History and Origins

Origin of term1

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English terme, from Old French, from Latin terminus “boundary, limit, end”; akin to Greek térmōn “limit”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of term1

C13: from Old French terme, from Latin terminus end

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. bring to terms, to force to agree to stated demands or conditions; bring into submission:

    After a long struggle, we brought them to terms.

  2. come to terms,
    1. to reach an agreement; make an arrangement:

      to come to terms with a creditor.

    2. to become resigned or accustomed:

      to come to terms with one's life.

  3. eat one's terms, British Informal. to study for the bar; be a law student.
  4. in terms of, with regard to; concerning:

    The book offers nothing in terms of a satisfactory conclusion.

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Example Sentences

But on Thursday Boxer triggered a Golden State political earthquake, announcing that she would not seek a fifth term in 2016.

Term limits could be a prescription to speed change along.

Wrapees was the term marines used for the Japanese because they had wrapping round their legs.

This was later repurposed in Europe as an explanation for racial superiority, and the term “Aryan” came to define a white race.

He won re-election twice as governor of New York, and had the hubris to run for a fourth term before being defeated in 1994.

So he bore down on the solemn declaration that she stood face to face with a prison term for perjury.

All changes are to be Rang either by walking them (as the term is) or else Whole-pulls, or Half-pulls.

These practical demonstrations occurred usually in the opening enthusiasm of the term.

I shall show how it is possible thus to prolong life to the term set by God.

But men, through neglecting the rules of health, pass quickly to old age, and die before reaching that term.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.