If your house becomes infested with cockroaches, mice, or even ants, you might have to exterminate them. It is certainly not a pleasant process, but often quite necessary.

To exterminate means "to kill off or destroy completely." Notice that it includes the word terminate which means, β€œto end.” It is usually used in reference to insects or rodents, but also unfortunately in reference to people or groups of people. It is just a coincidence that this verb shares a syllable with termite β€” a bug that often has to be exterminated before it eats through the wood of your home.

Definitions of exterminate

v kill en masse; kill on a large scale; kill many

“Hitler wanted to exterminate the Jews, Gypsies, Communists, and homosexuals of Europe”
kill off
Type of:
cause to die; put to death, usually intentionally or knowingly

v destroy completely, as if down to the roots

eradicate, extirpate, root out, uproot
Type of:
destroy, destruct
do away with, cause the destruction or undoing of

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