Meaning of TERM in English

I. ˈtərm, ˈtə̄m, ˈtəim noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English terme, from Old French, from Latin terminus boundary, limit, end; akin to Greek termōn boundary, end, termat-, terma boundary, end, turning post, Sanskrit tarati he crosses over, overcomes, and perhaps to Greek tormos hole, socket, pivot


a. archaic : a bound or limit in space

b. : end , termination

the age of liberalism had reached its term , and had been replaced by a totalitarian regime — Times Literary Supplement


a. : a limited or definite extent of time : the time for which something lasts : duration , tenure

term of five years in prison

during the term of an insurance policy

president's second term

borrowing for a long term


(1) terms plural , obsolete : menstruation

(2) : parturition at the normal period : time at which a pregnancy of normal length terminates

continued to develop to term but was stillborn

— often used with full

a healthy calf born at full term


a. : a time or date fixed or agreed upon for an action or as a boundary between periods

b. : a time fixed for the payment of rents or interest — compare quarter day

c. : the day on which a working period ends


(1) : the whole period for which an estate is granted

(2) : the estate or interest held by one for a term

e. : a space of time granted to a debtor for discharging his obligation

f. : the time for which a court is held or is open for the trial of cases and during which the powers of the court incidental to actual settings for the hearing of cases may be validly exercised — see easter term , hilary term , michaelmas term , trinity term

4. : one of several divisions of the year in a school, college, or university representing a continuous period during which instruction is regularly given to students — compare quarter 4b, semester 2; see candlemas term , hilary term , martinmas term , michaelmas term , trinity term , whitsun term

5. : one of the unequal divisions of the 30 degrees of a sign allocated in astrology to each of the planets as an essential dignity


a. : a member of an expression connected with another member by a plus or minus sign

b. : any of the members composing a ratio or proportion

c. : any or each of a series or sequence

terms of a geometrical progression

d. : one of a set of frequencies assigned one for each state to an atomic system such that the frequencies of the light emitted are differences between the members of the set

7. : a substantive word or phrase used as the subject or predicate of a proposition or standing as one member of a relation ; especially : one of the three substantive elements of a syllogism each of which appears twice — see major term , middle term , minor term


a. : a word or expression that has a precisely limited meaning in some uses or is peculiar to a science, art, profession, trade, or special subject

technical term

legal term

b. terms plural : diction of a specified kind

described in glowing terms

praised in the highest terms

talking of marriage in vague terms, not actually proposing

9. terms plural : propositions, limitations, or provisions stated or offered for the acceptance of another and determining (as in a contract) the nature and scope of the agreement : conditions

terms of a sale

credit granted on liberal terms of repayment

terms of a will

10. terms plural

a. : mutual relationship : relative position : footing — usually used with on or upon

remained on good terms with his neighbors

fight on even terms

b. : agreement , concord

came to terms after long bargaining

11. : a boundary post or stone ; especially : a quadrangular pillar often tapering downward and adorned on the top with the figure of a head or upper part of the body — called also terminal figure ; compare herm , terminus 2b

Synonyms: see condition , word

- at term

- in terms of

II. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

1. obsolete : express , state , phrase

2. : to apply a term to : call , name

determined to overcome what she termed her own selfishness — Agnes S. Turnbull

normal collector who in some circles would be termed naïve — Reginald Kell

III. abbreviation

1. terminal

2. termination

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.