Definition of terminus a quo in English:

Share this entry

terminus a quo

Pronunciation: /ˌtərmənəs ä ˈkwō/


1The earliest possible date for something.
Example sentences
  • We can establish a terminus a quo, the earliest possible date at which the book could have been finalized.
  • In fact, the chapter's conclusion only states a terminus a quo with any conviction, while his earlier confidence regarding a terminus ante quem seems to disappear unexplainably.
  • If the terminus a quo does not lie within the decade A.D.70-80, it cannot well be pushed back earlier than A.D.95.
1.1A starting point or initial impulse.
Example sentences
  • We are at the beginning of this school year - the terminus a quo.
  • The terminus a quo of the whole period is the issuing of a decree ‘to restore and to build Jerusalem.’


Latin, literally 'end from which'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ter·mi·nus a quo

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.