ter·mi·nal / ˈtərmənl/ • adj. 1. of, forming, or situated at the end or extremity of something: a terminal date | the terminal tip of the probe. ∎ of or forming a transportation terminal: terminal platforms. ∎ Zool. situated at, forming, or denoting the end of a part or series of parts furthest from the center of the body. ∎ Bot. (of a flower, inflorescence, etc.) borne at the end of a stem or branch.Often contrasted with axillary. 2. (of a disease) predicted to lead to death, esp. slowly; incurable: terminal cancer. ∎ suffering from or relating to such a disease: a hospice for terminal cases. ∎ (of a condition) forming the last stage of such a disease. ∎ inf. extreme and usually beyond cure or alteration (used to emphasize the extent of something regarded as bad or unfortunate): you're making a terminal ass of yourself. • n. 1. an end or extremity of something, in particular: ∎ the end of a railroad or other transport route, or a station at such a point. ∎ a departure and arrival building for air passengers at an airport. ∎ an installation where oil or gas is stored at the end of a pipeline or at a port. 2. a point of connection for closing an electric circuit. 3. a device at which a user enters data or commands for a computer system and that displays the received output. 4. (also terminal figure) another term for terminus (sense 3). DERIVATIVES: ter·mi·nal·ly adv. (in sense 2 of the adjective ) a terminally ill woman.
1. A data input and/or output device that is connected to a controlling processor to which it is subservient and usually remote. There are a very wide range of terminal types. The VDU is frequently used as a terminal by which a user can input queries or instructions and receive instructions. The information may be in the form of text or it may be mainly graphical. Terminals designed for a particular environment and business activity come under a general heading of application terminals. If the terminal has a built-in capability to store and manipulate data it is classed as an intelligent terminal; without this capability terminals are classed as dumb.
2. (terminal symbol) See grammar.