To destroy completely; to eliminate or kill off something or someone, especially in large numbers.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Annihilate, eradicate, eliminate, wipe out, destroy, kill, extinguish, decimate, obliterate, extirpate.


Create, establish, breed, proliferate, propagate.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun exterminator, exterminators
Verb exterminated, exterminating, exterminates, exterminate
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The company had to exterminate all of the infected cattle to prevent the disease from spreading.

  • The government decided to exterminate the invasive species of plants in the park.

  • The extermination of Jews during the Holocaust was a dark chapter in human history.

  • The military was given orders to exterminate the rebel group at any cost.


The word “exterminate” is often used to describe the act of completely destroying or eliminating something, especially in large numbers. The word can be traced back to the Latin word “exterminare”, which means “to drive out” or “to expel”. The prefix “ex-” means “out of” or “away from”, while the root “terminus” means “end” or “boundary”. Thus, “exterminate” means to drive out or remove something completely from its boundary or end.

The word “exterminate” is often associated with the elimination of pests, insects, or other unwanted creatures. For example, exterminators are professionals who specialize in getting rid of pests like rodents, termites, and bedbugs from homes and buildings. In addition, the word can also be used in the context of warfare, where soldiers are given orders to exterminate enemy forces.

The word “exterminate” can also be used in a more figurative sense to describe the complete destruction or elimination of an idea, practice, or belief. For example, the campaign to exterminate smoking in public places was successful in many countries. This usage suggests a deliberate and forceful effort to eradicate something completely.

In summary, “exterminate” is a powerful verb that connotes the total destruction or elimination of something or someone, usually in a forceful and deliberate manner. Its usage can range from the elimination of pests and invasive species to the eradication of ideas and beliefs.