eter·​nal | \ i-ˈtər-nᵊl How to pronounce eternal (audio) \

Definition of eternal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : having infinite duration : everlasting eternal damnation
b : of or relating to eternity
c : characterized by abiding fellowship with God good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? — Mark 10:17 (Revised Standard Version)
2a : continued without intermission : perpetual an eternal flame
b : seemingly endless eternal delays
3 archaic : infernal some eternal villain … devised this slander— William Shakespeare
4 : valid or existing at all times : timeless eternal verities



Definition of eternal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 capitalized : god sense 1 used with the
2 : something eternal

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Other Words from eternal


eternalize \ i-​ˈtər-​nə-​ˌlīz How to pronounce eternalize (audio) \ transitive verb
eternally \ i-​ˈtər-​nᵊl-​ē How to pronounce eternally (audio) \ adverb
eternalness noun

Examples of eternal in a Sentence

Adjective the eternal flames of hell in search of eternal wisdom When will his eternal whining stop?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Netflix earned the most overall, but its eternal nemesis HBO earned the most noms for a single series, with 26 for Watchmen. Kristen Baldwin,, "Emmys 2020: Who should win, and who will win," 15 Sep. 2020 Her memoir weaves together life at sea, her love of the Earth, and her eternal quest for great surf. Karen Carmichael, National Geographic, "Set sail with these 10 books about epic ocean voyages," 9 Sep. 2020 But with the right beauty look, the season springs eternal—or at least a bit longer. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Zendaya's Sleek Box Braids and Glowing Skin Are a Late Summer Refresh," 8 Sep. 2020 Sure, there is a chance Tiffany could be singing about the pleasures of diving headfirst into eternal love. Shannon Carlin,, "Good Luck Getting Tiffany Out Of Your Head After Watching Netflix’s Love, Guaranteed," 7 Sep. 2020 Raphael surely saw the Pantheon as prime real estate for his eternal repose, but this wasn’t simply his ego at work. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "In Rome, the Definitive Raphael Show: Raffaello: 1520–1483," 2 Sep. 2020 Beyond his gold records and hits, droves of fans from different generations continue to profess an eternal love for him. Marisol Chávez, Dallas News, "Four years after his death, Juan Gabriel’s legacy is strong," 29 Aug. 2020 The war for Faulkner is a sort of eternal recurrence. Evan Kindley, The New Republic, "William Faulkner’s Southern Guilt," 18 Aug. 2020 Throughout, the abuses perpetrated by everyday whites — technically non-monsters — take on an extra malevolence; the occultists, obsessed with eternal life, have at least an understandable motivation. Mike Hale, New York Times, "‘Lovecraft Country’ Review: Nightmare on Jim Crow Street," 13 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But hope springs eternal, and people are rebooking. Shwanika Narayan,, "Hope springs eternal, with cruise ships planning a return to SF next year," 29 Aug. 2020 Hope springs eternal, but keep your expectations realistic. oregonlive, "Horoscope for July 2, 2020: Leo, show off job skills; Capricorn, keep expectations in check," 2 July 2020 Still, hope springs eternal, especially with the wildness of small sample sizes. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, "How the Detroit Tigers can make MLB playoffs in a 50-game season," 16 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eternal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of eternal


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1573, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for eternal


Middle English, from Middle French, from Late Latin aeternalis, from Latin aeternus eternal, from aevum age, eternity — more at aye

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Time Traveler for eternal

Time Traveler

The first known use of eternal was in the 14th century

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Statistics for eternal

Last Updated

23 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Eternal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for eternal


How to pronounce eternal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of eternal

: having no beginning and no end in time : lasting forever
: existing at all times : always true or valid
: seeming to last forever


eter·​nal | \ i-ˈtər-nᵊl How to pronounce eternal (audio) \

Kids Definition of eternal

1 : lasting forever : having no beginning and no end
2 : continuing without interruption : seeming to last forever eternal patience

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Comments on eternal

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