Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To get rid of by destroying completely: synonym: annihilate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To drive beyond the limits or borders; drive away; expel.
  • To bring to an end; destroy utterly; root out; extirpate.
  • In algebra, to take away; eliminate: as, to exterminate surds or unknown quantities.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To drive out or away; to expel.
  • transitive verb To destroy utterly; to cut off; to extirpate; to annihilate; to root out
  • transitive verb (Math.), rare To eliminate, as unknown quantities.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To kill all of a population, usually deliberate and especially applied to pests.
  • verb figuratively (transitive) To bring a definite end to, finish completely. A rather strong word that implies that what has been ended won't resurface.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb kill en masse; kill on a large scale; kill many
  • verb destroy completely, as if down to the roots

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin extermināre, extermināt-, to drive out : ex-, ex- + termināre, to mark boundaries (from terminus, boundary marker).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin exterminatus, past participle of exterminare, itself from ex- + terminare ("to end") (from terminus ("limit, end")).

Examples

  • Rep. Smith said Sanger’s work was indeed “transformational,” but “not for the better if one happens to be poor, disenfranchised, weak, disabled, a person of color, an unborn child, or among the many so-called undesirables Sanger would exclude and exterminate from the human race.”

    Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog:

  • In Rwanda, you know, it has been very, very heavily documented obviously now, that had the international community listened to the warnings that the Hutu extremists were carefully planning down to the last instance how to exterminate a population and used that word exterminate, perhaps it wouldn't have happened.

    CNN Transcript - Special Event: Millennium 2000: Why We Hate and Why We Fight - January 3, 2000

  • Goodness, Rep. Smith, aren't words such as "exterminate" and "kill" a bit direct and forthright for such a personal, private matter?

    Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog:

  • In chapter 17, "The Golden Age that Never Was", Diamond begins by scoffing at Rousseau's noble savage and proceeds to demonstrate that the Maori was able to "exterminate" the moa, a flightless bird, that like the mammoth did not understand that man was their enemy.

    Hunter-Gatherers: Noble Savage or Savage Nobles

  • EVERYTHING has been tried to "exterminate" those (rich and ruling) jews, but they ALWAYS keep coming back, better and stronger, like the "insects" they are ALWAYS compared with.

    On Thursday, the Legg report will be published along with...

  • EVERYTHING has been tried to "exterminate" those (rich and ruling) jews, but they ALWAYS keep coming back, better and stronger, like the "insects" they are ALWAYS compared with.

    On Thursday, the Legg report will be published along with...

  • Imagine the sound of a Dalek on Dr. Who and instead of "exterminate" use "Delete, delete, delete, delete!"

    On Thursday, the Legg report will be published along with...

  • Because I see that, some on the DD end of things would "exterminate" me or confine me to a gulag.

    Demarcation as Politics

  • An actor named Sam Jaffe has just interjected the word "exterminate" into his pep talk introducing some Russkies to the Canteen crowd here--WOW, the Russkies are our allies--that's when Joe Stalin was one of our Big Three heroes.

    S.O.S.

  • So far in Israel's determination to "exterminate" the Hezzbollah, they have lost 33 civilians, 45 soldiers, and have about 300,000 people evacuated from areas under Hezbollah rocket attack.

    Lethargy

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