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adjective in·trin·sic \in-ˈtrin-zik, -ˈtrin(t)-sik\

Simple Definition of intrinsic

  • : belonging to the essential nature of a thing : occurring as a natural part of something

Full Definition of intrinsic

  1. 1 a :  belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing <the intrinsic worth of a gem> <the intrinsic brightness of a star> b :  being or relating to a semiconductor in which the concentration of charge carriers is characteristic of the material itself instead of the content of any impurities it contains

  2. 2 a :  originating or due to causes within a body, organ, or part <an intrinsic metabolic disease> b :  originating and included wholly within an organ or part <intrinsic muscles> — compare extrinsic 1b

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

Examples of intrinsic

  1. He is the ideal courtier. His nobility is intrinsic, and so he can drape himself in this purple cloak of tasteful modernity, make a cocktail of past and present, the cream of both. —Noah Charney, The Art Thief, 2007

  2. Subatomic particles have an intrinsic orientation known as spin, which can point in one of two directions, conventionally called “up” and “down.” —Abraham Loeb, Scientific American, November 2006

  3. Yet despite the digital culture's endless celebrations of diversity … there is a certain mindless repetition intrinsic to the Internet, where ideas and software multiply a thousandfold with one click; where the lure of wider communication drives users toward an ultimate “interoperability” and, hence, toward an ultimate uniformity. —Julian Dibbell, Harper's, August 2001

  4. the intrinsic value of a gem

  5. the intrinsic brightness of a star

Origin of intrinsic

French intrinsèque internal, from Late Latin intrinsecus, from Latin, adverb, inwardly; akin to Latin intra within — more at intra-

First Known Use: 1635

Medical Dictionary


play play
adjective in·trin·sic \in-ˈtrin-zik, -ˈtrin(t)-sik\

Medical Definition of intrinsic

  1. 1:  originating or due to causes or factors within a body, organ, or part <intrinsic asthma>

  2. 2:  originating and included wholly within an organ or part—used especially of certain muscles <the cricothyroid is an intrinsic muscle of the larynx>; compare extrinsic 2

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February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

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