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adjective ex·trin·sic \ek-ˈstrin-zik, -ˈstrin(t)-sik\

Simple Definition of extrinsic

  • : not part of something : coming from the outside of something

Full Definition of extrinsic

  1. 1 a :  not forming part of or belonging to a thing :  extraneous b :  originating from or on the outside; especially :  originating outside a part and acting upon the part as a whole <extrinsic muscles of the tongue>

  2. 2 :  external

ex·trin·si·cal·ly play \-zi-k(ə-)lē, -si-\ adverb

Examples of extrinsic

  1. You have to consider any extrinsic factors in the success of the business.

  2. <the fact that the ring belonged to your grandmother is extrinsic to its value to a jeweler>

Origin of extrinsic

French & Late Latin; French extrinsèque, from Late Latin extrinsecus, from Latin, adverb, from without; akin to Latin exter outward and to Latin sequi to follow — more at exterior, sue

First Known Use: 1613

Synonym Discussion of extrinsic

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>.

Medical Dictionary


play play
adjective ex·trin·sic \ek-ˈstrin-zik, -ˈstrin(t)-sik\

Medical Definition of extrinsic

  1. 1:  originating or due to causes or factors from or on the outside of a body, organ, or part <renal tumors or cysts…causing extrinsic compression of the renal vasculature—Scientific American Medicine>

  2. 2:  originating outside a part and acting on the part as a whole—used especially of certain muscles <the extrinsic muscles of the tongue>; compare intrinsic 2

  3. ex·trin·si·cal·ly \-zi-k(ə-)lē, -si-\play adverb

Seen and Heard

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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