[ tur-muh-nuh s ]
/ ˈtɜr mə nəs /

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

Definition for terminus (2 of 3)

terminus ad quem

[ ter-mi-noo s ahd kwem; English tur-muh-nuh s ad kwem ]
/ ˈtɛr mɪˌnʊs ɑd ˈkwɛm; English ˈtɜr mə nəs æd ˈkwɛm /

noun Latin.

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

Definition for terminus (3 of 3)

terminus a quo

[ ter-mi-noo s ah kwoh; English tur-muh-nuh s ey kwoh ]
/ ˈtɛr mɪˌnʊs ɑ ˈkwoʊ; English ˈtɜr mə nəs eɪ ˈkwoʊ /

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

British Dictionary definitions for terminus (1 of 4)


/ (ˈtɜːmɪnəs) /

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

British Dictionary definitions for terminus (2 of 4)


/ (ˈtɜːmɪnəs) /


the Roman god of boundaries

British Dictionary definitions for terminus (3 of 4)

terminus ad quem

/ Latin (ˈtɜːmɪˌnʊs æd ˈkwɛm) /


the aim or terminal point

Word Origin for terminus ad quem

literally: the end to which

British Dictionary definitions for terminus (4 of 4)

terminus a quo

/ Latin (ˈtɜːmɪˌnʊs ɑː ˈkwəʊ) /


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