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As for an ad hoc single-direction train, the last station is called the "terminus", while the first station is called the ______.

A. origin

B. source

C. start

D. initus

E. ...... (other names)

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  • This looks to me as if it might be a multiple-choice test homework or test question, and such direct questions are off-topic on ELU. I'm therefore voting to close it accordingly. – TrevorD May 4 '19 at 15:43
  • Another factor here is the meaning of terminus: it does not necessarily mean "the end of the line". Both Oxford & Cambridge dictionaries include the meaning of the "end of the route" - not necessarily the end of the line. Services can terminate at a station that also has 'through services': sometimes the train will terminate at a "through platform" and sometimes at a "terminal platform" at a station that also has through services. – TrevorD May 4 '19 at 16:48
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Depending on the sense of terminus, it can mean both the first (start) and the last (finish):

[Merriam-Webster]
1 : either end of a transportation line or travel route
also : the station, town, or city at such a place : TERMINAL

So, in that sense, the first train station would also be called a terminus. (The train station would have at least two of them; there would be more if there were several different lines of travel, each starting or finishing at one place.)


But you may be using a looser sense of the word:

3 : a final goal : a finishing point

If so, then origin is a good opposite. (Also from Merriam-Webster).

2 a : rise, beginning, or derivation from a source
// the origin of life on Earth
// The word "algebra" is of Arabic origin.
2 b : the point at which something begins or rises or from which it derives
// the origin of the custom
also : something that creates, causes, or gives rise to another
// a spring is the origin of the brook


Note that if you are actually naming stations, you'd likely pair central station or first station with final station or last station.

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  • Well, this is quite strange. The Webster dictionary says a terminus can be either the first or the last station, while the Cambridge dictionary says a terminus can only be the last station. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/terminus – Victor May 4 '19 at 8:11
  • and the Oxford dictionary also says a terminus is the last station. en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/terminus – Victor May 4 '19 at 8:14
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    @Victor Your Oxford definition does not say the last station. It says (emphasis mine) "The end of a railway or other transport route, or a station at such a point; a terminal." A line has two ends—one at its start, the other at its finish. I'm used to terminus meaning "end point," which is both first and and last. I've used the word terminus to mean only last—but never in the context of a train station. – Jason Bassford May 4 '19 at 8:25
  • Well, this is more interesting, because "end" itself is ambiguous. It can mean the final part, e.g. "from beginning to end", while it can also mean the furthest part, e.g. "either end" and "both ends". – Victor May 4 '19 at 8:51
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The words, on British railways, are "origin" and "destination".

"Terminus" has a specific meaning, which is the end of the line, and trains cannot pass beyond that point without reversing. Many London major stations are terminals (termini) because of the way the railways were built in London.

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  • There are terminii in other places too, particularly in port cities. Hull Paragon is a terminus as is Liverpool Lime Street. Carlisle station was originally a terminus and is still on a spur from the through line so trains have to reverse out of it to continue on. – BoldBen May 4 '19 at 10:47
  • @BoldBen No one is saying there aren't! There are also terminals at Brighton, Portsmouth, Southhampton, Littlehampton, and hundreds, or even thousands, of other places! – TrevorD May 4 '19 at 15:48

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