A term is a length of time between when a fixed-income security, such as a bond or note, or an extension of credit, such as an auto loan or mortgage, is offered for sale and its maturity date.
For loans, the term is the period of time and the interest rate agreed upon by the lender and the borrower to repay a loan.
For marketable securities, the length of time the security earns interest. A Treasury note, for instance, has a term of 2, 3, 5, 7, or 10 years. Marketable securities are identified by their term and type: 26-week bill, 3-year note, 20-year TIPS, for example.