adjective ex·tra·ne·ous \ek-ˈstrā-nē-əs\

: not forming a necessary part of something : not important

Full Definition of EXTRANEOUS

:  existing on or coming from the outside <extraneous light>
a :  not forming an essential or vital part <extraneous ornamentation>
b :  having no relevance <an extraneous digression>
:  being a number obtained in solving an equation that is not a solution of the equation <extraneous roots>
ex·tra·ne·ous·ly adverb
ex·tra·ne·ous·ness noun

Examples of EXTRANEOUS

  1. She sped up the process by eliminating all extraneous steps.
  2. <the architect's streamlined modern style shuns any sort of extraneous ornamentation>
  3. Obviously, some degree of packaging is necessary to transport and protect the products we need, but all too often manufacturers add extraneous wrappers over wrappers and layers of unnecessary plastic. —Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006


Latin extraneus — more at strange
First Known Use: 1638

Synonym Discussion of EXTRANEOUS

extrinsic, extraneous, foreign, alien mean external to a thing, its essential nature, or its original character. extrinsic applies to what is distinctly outside the thing in question or is not contained in or derived from its essential nature <sentimental value that is extrinsic to the house's market value>. extraneous applies to what is on or comes from the outside and may or may not be capable of becoming an essential part <arguments extraneous to the issue>. foreign applies to what is so different as to be rejected or repelled or to be incapable of becoming assimilated <techniques foreign to French cuisine>. alien is stronger than foreign in suggesting opposition, repugnance, or irreconcilability <a practice totally alien to her nature>.

Rhymes with EXTRANEOUS


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