Definition of exterminate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪkˈstəːmɪneɪt/
Pronunciation: /ɛkˈstəːmɪneɪt/


[with object]
1Destroy completely: after exterminating the entire population, the soldiers set fire to the buildings
More example sentences
  • According to the leadership's orders, bandits were to be exterminated and destroyed.
  • It is an overwhelming fact that so many people could be totally exterminated.
  • Let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request; for we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be massacred and to be exterminated.
kill, put to death, do to death, do away with, put an end to, finish off, take the life of, end the life of, get rid of, dispatch;
slaughter, butcher, massacre, wipe out, mow down, shoot down, cut down, put to the sword, send to the gas chambers, ethnically cleanse, destroy, eliminate, eradicate, annihilate, extirpate;
murder, assassinate, execute
North American informal ice, off, rub out, waste, whack, smoke, scrag
North American euphemistic terminate with extreme prejudice
literary slay
1.1Kill (a pest): they use poison to exterminate moles
More example sentences
  • A new act recently passed for hunting and game protection states that hunters are free to exterminate any carnivores they encounter.
  • But a federal campaign to exterminate prairie dogs in 1950s and '60s killed nearly all of the ferrets' prey.
  • Good humans feel no compunction about exterminating inhuman creatures that prey upon the innocent.



Pronunciation: /ɪkˈstəːmɪneɪtə/
Pronunciation: /ɛkˈstəːmɪneɪtə/
Example sentences
  • An exterminator slaughtered the bird with a pellet gun as it tried to hide in a corner.
  • And yet she holds no grudge against exterminators.
  • The next hit reality show will be about out-of-work exterminators.


Pronunciation: /ɪkˈstəːmɪnət(ə)ri/
Pronunciation: /ɛkˈstəːmɪnət(ə)ri/
Example sentences
  • But though Hitler called himself a socialist, and was widely accepted as one, inside and outside Germany, his socialist sources are less well known, though they reached as far as Soviet exterminatory techniques.
  • Longerich is wrong in suggesting that the Nazis' exterminatory policy of Euthanasia from the winter of 1939-40 was some kind of ‘rehearsal’ for the Nazi Final Solution of the Jewish Question.
  • Since 1945, since the Holocaust and the Nazis' exterminatory warfare, German non-Jewish authorship has had to relegitimize, refound itself with every single text.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'drive out'): from Latin exterminat- 'driven out', from the verb exterminare, from ex- 'out' + terminus 'boundary'. The sense 'destroy' (mid 16th century) comes from the Latin of the Vulgate.

  • This is from Latin ‘drive out, banish’, from ex- ‘out’ and terminus ‘boundary’. This was the sense used when the word entered English. The sense ‘destroy’ (mid 16th century) comes from the Latin of the Vulgate Bible.

Words that rhyme with exterminate

germinate, terminate, verminate

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ex|ter¦min|ate

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