term - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [countable] a word or phrase used for referring to something

    In simple terms, you need more exercise.

    coin a term (=create a new term):

    Darwin originally coined the term ‘natural selection’.

    1. a.
      [countable] [often plural] a word or phrase used as a name or for describing someone

      All his teachers speak of him in glowing terms.

      a term of endearment:

      We called our daughterPrincess’ as a term of endearment.

  2. 2


    [plural] used for saying which aspects of something you are considering or including
    in terms of:

    The savings, both in terms of time and money, could be considerable.

  3. 3
    [countable] one of the periods of time into which the year is divided for students. In the UK, there are usually three terms: the autumn term, the spring term, and the summer term

    What classes are you taking this term?

    the end of term:

    How many weeks is it till the end of term?

    term time:

    He trains five times a week during term time.

    1. a.
      [countable] [usually singular] a period of time during which a government, court, or other official organization regularly meets

      The Supreme Court’s term always begins in October.

  4. 4
    [countable] a period of time during which a politician or other official holds their job

    In 1988 he was re-elected for a five-year term.

    term of/in office:

    Her term of office ends in September.

  5. 5
    [countable] the period of time that someone must spend in prison

    She’s serving a 15-year term.

    prison/jail term:

    He received a prison term of six months.

  6. 6
    [countable] a period of time that a legal, business, or financial agreement lasts

    Finance costs are collected over the term of the loan.

    fixed term:

    I was employed on a fixed-term contract of two years.

  7. 7
    [uncountable] medical the end of the period of time that a woman is pregnant

    She worried that she could not carry a child to term.

    1. a.
      formal the end of the period of time that something lasts, especially a legal, business, or financial agreement
  8. 9


    [plural] the conditions of a legal, business, or financial agreement that the people making it accept

    He had little choice but to accept their terms.

    term of:

    We have agreed the terms of the lease.

    under the terms of something:

    The committee was set up under the terms of a voluntary agreement.

    terms and conditions:

    Do you agree to these terms and conditions?

    negotiate terms:

    He negotiated the terms for their release from prison.

    1. a.
      the conditions you accept when you buy or sell something

      His terms are very reasonable.

      on easy terms (=paying small amounts over a long time):

      The bank makes loans on easy terms.