Definition of exterminate in English:


Syllabification: ex·ter·mi·nate
Pronunciation: /ikˈstərməˌnāt


[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, take/end the life of, dispatch; slaughter, butcher, massacre, wipe out, eliminate, eradicate, annihilate; murder, assassinate, execute, slay
    informal do away with, bump off, do in, take out, blow away, ice, rub out, waste
  • 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: /-ˌnātər/
More 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: /-nəˌtôrē/
More 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, banish'): from Latin exterminat- 'driven out, banished', from the verb exterminare, from ex- 'out' + terminus 'boundary'. The sense 'destroy' (mid 16th century) comes from the Latin of the Vulgate.

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