Definition of term in English:

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Pronunciation: /təːm/


1A word or phrase used to describe a thing or to express a concept, especially in a particular kind of language or branch of study: the musical term ‘leitmotiv’ a term of abuse
More example sentences
  • But some of the older topics are now passé, and language, terms, and topics shift and adapt.
  • It is significant that the term entered the language at a time of ineffective monarchical rule, in the mid-fifteenth century.
  • In official language, this occurs through the use of technical terms - acronyms and jargon.
word, expression, phrase, turn of phrase, idiom, locution;
name, title, denomination, designation, label
formal appellation
1.1 (terms) Language used on a particular occasion; a way of expressing oneself: a protest in the strongest possible terms
More example sentences
  • In recent months she has shamelessly mentioned Saab on more than 30 occasions and never in less than ecstatic terms.
  • It is feasible he made his point in even stronger terms in the dressing room beforehand, but there was little evidence early on of his sermon provoking the desired reaction.
language, mode of expression, manner of speaking, phraseology, terminology;
words, phrases, expressions
1.2 Logic A word or words that may be the subject or predicate of a proposition.
Example sentences
  • Every simple proposition contains two terms, predicate and subject.
  • There is no king of France at present; the subject term fails to refer to anything.
2A fixed or limited period for which something, for example office, imprisonment, or investment, lasts or is intended to last: the President is elected for a single four-year term
More example sentences
  • However, now they have to illustrate what they plan to do in the next four years, the term of their office.
  • The elected council members are set to begin their four-year term of office on Dec.31.
  • Another significant section of the overturned clauses dealt with a fixed term of office for the Chief Prosecutor.
period, period of time, time, length of time, spell, stint, duration;
interval, stretch, run, phase;
term of office, period of office, incumbency, administration
2.1 (also term day) (Especially in Scotland) a fixed day of the year appointed for the making of payments, the start or end of tenancies, etc.
2.2 (also full term) [mass noun] The completion of a normal length of pregnancy: I was really keen to go to term and to have a home birth
More example sentences
  • She had an uneventful pregnancy and at term underwent a cesarean section.
  • All of the mothers studied were in spontaneous labor at term with singleton pregnancies in cephalic presentations.
  • Pregnant women at term with rupture of membranes before labour are subjected to routine induction of labour.
2.3 (British also term of years or US term for years) Law A tenancy of a fixed period.
Example sentences
  • The right to request a new tenancy when the tenancy ‘could be brought to an end by notice to quit given by the tenant’ was held not to apply to a lease for a term of years.
  • Then the government leases the work from the builder for a fixed term of years, during which it has to be maintained by its maker.
  • The vendor would not sell without receiving his purchase money, and the mortgagee would not provide the purchase money without receiving the term of years.
2.4 archaic The duration of a person’s life.
2.5 archaic A boundary or limit, especially of time.
3Each of the periods in the year, alternating with holiday or vacation, during which instruction is given in a school, college, or university, or during which a law court holds sessions: the summer term term starts tomorrow
More example sentences
  • Around 300,000 young people are finishing their first term at university in the UK.
  • For a lot of faculty members, in short, the end of a term is no vacation, but a mad scramble for survival.
  • He also worked part time tutoring during the university term.
North American  semester, trimester, quarter
4 (terms) Conditions under which an action may be undertaken or agreement reached; stipulated or agreed requirements: their solicitors had agreed terms he could only be dealt with on his own terms
More example sentences
  • But he was not prepared to commit to any decisions of policy, or reach any terms of agreement with the British Premier.
  • But being able to make compromises on your own terms means you can live with them.
  • Did the record-company people have designs for you, or were they ready to hear you on your own terms?
4.1Conditions with regard to payment for something; stated charges: loans on favourable terms
More example sentences
  • We then proceeded to negotiate a commercial fee, terms and conditions of payment.
  • Credit terms and price charged for goods were set based upon this analysis.
  • He also said that the terms and conditions and pricing information are ‘very confusing’.
conditions, stipulations, specifications, provisions, provisos;
restrictions, qualifications;
particulars, details, points, clauses, articles
rates, prices, charges, costs, fees;
4.2Agreed conditions under which a war or other dispute is brought to an end: the United States played a key role in prodding the two sides to come to terms
More example sentences
  • Both parties should come to terms and embrace dialogue.
  • The parties should come to terms on the issue quickly before it gets out of control.
  • This broad topic was agreed upon after the two sides failed to come to terms on more specific topics.
reach (an) agreement/understanding, come to an agreement/understanding, make a deal, reach a compromise, meet each other halfway, establish a middle ground, be reconciled
5 Mathematics Each of the quantities in a ratio, series, or mathematical expression.
Example sentences
  • A geometric series is defined as having a constant ratio between consecutive terms.
  • As you go farther and farther to the right in this sequence, the ratio of a term to the one before it will get closer and closer to the Golden Ratio.
  • This uses a technique known as the integral test which compares the graph of a function with the terms of the series.
6 Architecture another term for terminus.


[with object and usually with complement]
Give a descriptive name to; call by a specified term: he has been termed the father of modern theology
More example sentences
  • His rare talent means Joshua has been termed an art savant, a name given to someone who is gifted in a certain area.
  • A former wife of the father had termed the father a prime case for child abuse.
  • Traditionally, the Vedas have been handed down from one generation to another and many were opposed to recording it in the form of a cassette terming it a commercial venture.
call, name, entitle, title, style, designate, describe as, dub, label, tag;
rare denominate



come to terms with

Come to accept (a new and painful or difficult event or situation); reconcile oneself to: she had come to terms with the tragedies in her life
More example sentences
  • This makes the fact that the lyrics are so poor even more difficult to come to terms with.
  • It is always difficult coming to terms with an imminent loss, but it was made much easier when such kindness was shown by an entire team.
  • He said injured passengers on the ward had found it difficult coming to terms with the way they had survived when others had not.
accept, come to accept, become reconciled to, reconcile oneself to, reach an acceptance (of), get used to, become accustomed to, adjust to, accommodate oneself to, acclimatize oneself to;
learn to live with, become resigned to, make the best of;
face up to

in terms of (or in —— terms)

With regard to the particular aspect or subject specified: replacing the printers is difficult to justify in terms of cost
More example sentences
  • While this is plenty of distance in everyday terms, in astronomical terms, it is a very near miss.
  • He began justifying the war in human rights terms.
  • The cost in financial terms is soaring, the cost in emotional terms is unmeasurable.
with regard to, as regards, regarding, concerning, as to, in respect of, with reference to, in the matter of, in connection with

the long/short/medium term

Used to refer to a time that is a specified way into the future: these ventures are unlikely to yield much return in the short term
More example sentences
  • We are quite happy in principle to secure the long term future of the event.
  • In the long term, mankind's very future may depend on what is being done right now in space research.
  • This difficulty will impact on the short term future outlook for the sector.

on terms

In a state of friendship or equality.
4.1(In sport) level in score or on points.
Example sentences
  • Crucially, Lam made that seven with a drop-goal 10 minutes from time, leaving Saints needing two scores to get back on terms.
  • Sam Bailey opened the scoring for Sutton although Heaton were soon back on terms with a penalty.
  • That score brought Kilcock back on terms but the Moores' response was swift and sure.

on —— terms

In a specified relation or on a specified footing: we are all on friendly terms
More example sentences
  • I expect a good welcome back because I was always on friendly terms with the fans.
  • Those who had left, left on friendly terms and most were still in contact with him.
  • She was a top class neighbour and friend who was on good terms with everyone.
in a … relationship (with), having … relations (with), on a … footing (with)

terms of reference

Pronunciation: /ˌtəːmz əv ˈrɛf(ə)r(ə)ns/
Pronunciation: /ˌtəːmz əv ˈrɛf(ə)rəns/


Middle English (denoting a limit in space or time, or (in the plural) limiting conditions): from Old French terme, from Latin terminus 'end, boundary, limit'.

Words that rhyme with term

affirm, berm, confirm, firm, germ, herm, midterm, perm, sperm, squirm, therm, worm

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: term

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