Etymology: Latin terminalis, from terminus
a. of or relating to an end, extremity, boundary, or terminus <a terminal pillar> b. growing at the end of a branch or stem <a terminal bud> 2. a. of, relating to, or occurring in a term or each term <terminal payments> b. (1) leading ultimately to death ; fatal <terminal cancer> (2) approaching or close to death ; being in the final stages of a fatal disease <a terminal patient> (3) of or relating to patients with a terminal illness <terminal care> c. extremely or hopelessly severe <terminal boredom> 3. a. occurring at or constituting the end of a period or series ; concluding <the terminal moments of life> b. not intended as preparation for further academic work <a terminal curriculum> Synonyms: see last • terminally adverb II. noun Date: 1838 1. a part that forms the end ; extremity, termination 2. a terminating usually ornamental detail ; finial 3. a device attached to the end of a wire or cable or to an electrical apparatus for convenience in making connections 4. a. either end of a carrier line having facilities for the handling of freight and passengers b. a freight or passenger station that is central to a considerable area or serves as a junction at any point with other lines c. a town or city at the end of a carrier line ; terminus 5. a combination of a keyboard and output device (as a video display unit) by which data can be entered into or output from a computer or electronic communications system
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.