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This question arises when I try to describe my itinerary to ticket service in the UK. Take for example, I plan to buy a ticket from A to B. B is the terminal. How to say its counter part A? I cannot find a proper term. I have to say "I will depart from A" or "I plan to go to B from A". Or I even use "departure place" to refer to B.

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3 Answers 3

Terminal is not commonly used in the sense you describe. If you buy a ticket from point A to point B, point A is your origin and point B is your destination.

On a fixed route such as a railroad, each end of the line is known as the terminus; while this word refers to a final end point, which point is the start and which is the end obviously depends on your direction of travel. Terminal, on the other hand, usually refers to the building or other facilities where travel begins and ends.

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Yes, I agree, “destination” is a better term than "terminal" in my description. The question becomes to find an antonym of "destination". "origin" sounds good, but I never say this way and cannot find the relevant entry of "origin" in dictionary. So I still doubt this. –  Jiancheng Zou Aug 27 '13 at 6:57
    
@JianchengZou You will find in all dictionaries a meaning of "the point at which something begins or from which it derives," in this case, your journey. If you are communicating with a travel agency, the context of origin (or point of origin) will be well-understood. Janus does make an good point elsewhere that native speakers would more likely say my train left from Kings Cross or my flight originated at LAX than that Kings Cross or LAX was my origin or point of origin, and a friend asking your journey would ask Where did you leave from rather than Where did you originate? –  choster Aug 27 '13 at 13:51
    
I understand that there are many other ways to express the same meaning than "origin" or "terminus"; most of them are not a single word and will cause no confusion at all. For example, we simply use "From...", "Start ..." Do you know antonym of "terminus"? I rack my brains and cannot get one. –  Jiancheng Zou Aug 30 '13 at 1:09

I'd use origin. "Place of origin," like "place of departure" would obviously be more specific, but for a single-word antonym, that should serve.

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I too would find origin confusing in this context. "What is/was your origin?" could mean many things, such as your ethnic origin, place of birth, etc.. The meaning "Where did you start your journey?" would not be a meaning that would normally occur to me on hearing "What is/was your origin?".

Personally, I would use starting point, departure point, or something similar.

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I agree very much with this. Departure point (or point of departure) would be much more natural to me. Basically, I find it is rather rare that these places are specified as nouns in English—it is much more common, as also noted in the question itself, to use verbs to describe it, saying “I depart from X and arrive at Y ”, rather than “My point of departure is X and my destination is Y ”. –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 27 '13 at 11:59
    
Yes, we surely can express this in alternate ways. That is why I asked; most of the web sites I have visited simply say "Depart...", "Leave ..." or "Arrive ...". A minor thing to discuss is, can we use start point instead of starting point? I know *start as a noun can mean "the place where a race begins"; it looks like that it does not perfectly match here. –  Jiancheng Zou Aug 30 '13 at 1:12
    
@JianchengZou You could use "start point" and it would be understood, but (at least in BrE) it would be unusual and non-idiomatic when referring to a journey. –  TrevorD Aug 30 '13 at 10:49

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