exterminate (v.) 1540s, "drive away," from L. exterminatus, pp. of exterminare "drive out, expel, drive beyond boundaries," also, in L.L. "destroy," from phrase ex termine "beyond the boundary," from ex- "out of" (see EX- (Cf. ex-)) + termine, abl. of termen "boundary, limit, end" (see TERMINUS (Cf. terminus)). Meaning "destroy utterly" is from 1640s, a sense found in equivalent words in French and in the Vulgate; earlier in this sense was extermine (mid-15c.). Related: Exterminated; exterminating.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


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  • Exterminate — Ex*ter mi*nate, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Exterminated}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Exterminating}.] [L. exterminatus, p. p. of exterminare to abolish, destroy, drive out or away; ex out + terminus boundary, limit. See {Term}.] 1. To drive out or away; to expel …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • exterminate — exterminate, extirpate, eradicate, uproot, deracinate, wipe are comparable when they mean to effect the destruction or abolition of something. Exterminate implies utter extinction; it therefore usually implies a killing off {efforts to… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • exterminate — [ek stʉr′mə nāt΄, ikstʉr′mə nāt΄] vt. exterminated, exterminating [< L exterminatus, pp. of exterminare, lit., to drive beyond the boundaries, hence drive out, destroy < ex , out + terminus, boundary: see TERM1] to destroy or get rid of… …   English World dictionary

  • exterminate — index abate (extinguish), abolish, annul, cancel, destroy (efface), dispatch (put to death) …   Law dictionary

  • exterminate — [v] kill abolish, annihilate, blot out*, decimate, destroy, do away with*, eliminate, eradicate, erase, execute, extinguish, extirpate, finish off, massacre, obliterate, put an end to*, rub out*, send to kingdom come*, slaughter, stamp out*, wipe …   New thesaurus

  • exterminate — ► VERB ▪ destroy completely; eradicate. DERIVATIVES extermination noun exterminator noun exterminatory adjective. ORIGIN originally in the sense «drive out»: from Latin exterminare, from terminus boundary …   English terms dictionary

  • exterminate — transitive verb ( nated; nating) Etymology: Latin exterminatus, past participle of exterminare, from ex + terminus boundary more at term Date: 1591 to get rid of completely usually by killing off < exterminate termites and cockroaches > •… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • exterminate — exterminable /ik sterr meuh neuh beuhl/, adj. extermination, n. /ik sterr meuh nayt /, v.t., exterminated, exterminating. to get rid of by destroying; destroy totally; extirpate: to exterminate an enemy; to exterminate insects. [1535 45; < L… …   Universalium

  • exterminate — verb /ikˈstɜrmɪˌneɪt/ a) To kill all of a population, usually deliberate and especially applied to pests. Well use poison to exterminate the rats. b) To bring a definite end to, finish completely. A rather strong word that implies that what has… …   Wiktionary

  • exterminate — [[t]ɪkstɜ͟ː(r)mɪneɪt[/t]] exterminates, exterminating, exterminated VERB To exterminate a group of people or animals means to kill all of them. [V n] A huge effort was made to exterminate the rats... [V n] They have a real fear that they ll be… …   English dictionary