[tur-muh-nuh s]

noun, plural ter·mi·ni [tur-muh-nahy] /ˈtɜr məˌnaɪ/, ter·mi·nus·es.

Origin of terminus

1545–55; < Latin: boundary, limit, end
Can be confusedterminal terminus

terminus ad quem

[ter-mi-noo s ahd kwem; English tur-muh-nuh s ad kwem]

noun Latin.

the end to which; aim; goal; final or latest limiting point.

terminus a quo

[ter-mi-noo s ah kwoh; English tur-muh-nuh s ey kwoh]

noun Latin.

the end from which; beginning; starting point; earliest limiting point.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for terminus

Contemporary Examples of terminus

Historical Examples of terminus

  • It went up and down all day, for Amber Guiting was the terminus.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • It was from Canon Farlow, and had been despatched at the London terminus.

    People of Position

    Stanley Portal Hyatt

  • At length the train slowed down and entered383 the terminus at Rome.

  • The visible creation is the terminus or the circumference of the invisible world.


    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Here was to be the terminus of the steamship line from San Francisco.

British Dictionary definitions for terminus


noun plural -ni (-naɪ) or -nuses

the last or final part or point
either end of a railway, bus route, etc, or a station or town at such a point
a goal aimed for
a boundary or boundary marker
architect another name for term (def. 10)

Word Origin for terminus

C16: from Latin: end; related to Greek termōn boundary



the Roman god of boundaries

terminus ad quem


the aim or terminal point

Word Origin for terminus ad quem

literally: the end to which

terminus a quo


the starting point; beginning

Word Origin for terminus a quo

literally: the end from which
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

Word Origin and History for terminus

1550s, "goal, end, final point," from Latin terminus (plural termini) "end, boundary line," from PIE root *ter-, base of words meaning "peg, post, boundary, marker goal" (cf. Sanskrit tarati "passes over, crosses over," Hittite tarmaizzi "he limits," Greek terma "boundary, end, limit"). In ancient Rome, Terminus was the name of the deity who presided over boundaries and landmarks, focus of the important Roman festival of Terminalia (held Feb. 23, the end of the old Roman year). Meaning "either end of a transportation line" is first recorded 1836.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper