The meaning "word or phrase used in a limited or precise sense" is first recorded late 14c., from Medieval Latin use of terminus to render Greek horos "boundary," employed in mathematics and logic. Hence in terms of "in the language or phraseology peculiar to." Meaning "completion of the period of pregnancy" is from 1844. Term-paper in U.S. educational sense is recorded from 1931.
also mid-term, "in the middle of a term" in any sense, from mid (adj.) + term (n.). By 1879 in reference to gestation; 1888 of college semesters (midterm examination is by 1900; student slang shortening midterms for these is by 1903). By 1891 in reference to U.S. congressional elections held in the middle of a four-year presidential term.
1770, from German Terminologie, a hybrid coined by Christian Gottfried Schütz (1747-1832), professor of poetry and rhetoric at Jena, from Medieval Latin terminus "word, expression" (see terminus) + Greek -logia "a dealing with, a speaking of" (see -logy). Related: Terminological.
Decandolle and others use the term Glossology instead of Terminology, to avoid the blemish of a word compounded of two parts taken from different languages. The convenience of treating the termination ology (and a few other parts of compounds) as not restricted to Greek combinations, is so great, that I shall venture, in these cases, to disregard this philological scruple. [William Whewell, "The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences," 1847]
also kung-fu, 1966, a generalized Western term for Chinese martial arts, from dialectal Chinese kung fu, a term said to refer to any skill acquired through learning or practice.