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eter·​nal i-ˈtər-nᵊl How to pronounce eternal (audio)
: having infinite duration : everlasting
eternal damnation
: of or relating to eternity
: characterized by abiding fellowship with God
good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?Mark 10:17 (Revised Standard Version)
: continued without intermission : perpetual
an eternal flame
: seemingly endless
eternal delays
archaic : infernal
some eternal villain … devised this slanderWilliam Shakespeare
: valid or existing at all times : timeless
eternal verities
eternalize transitive verb
eternally adverb
eternalness noun


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capitalized : god sense 1
used with the
: something eternal

Examples of eternal in a Sentence

Adjective the eternal flames of hell in search of eternal wisdom When will his eternal whining stop?
Recent Examples on the Web
Just enough that the expansion will eventually come to an eternal standstill? Richard Panek, Scientific American, 14 Nov. 2023 The scenes in question—including a fervent and inspired one set in a courtroom—also evoke, as a crucial aspect of trans life, the eternal cinematic conflict of word and image. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 10 Nov. 2023 The influence of Buddhism grew sporadically for almost seven centuries in Mongolia, merging in profound ways with its ancient worship of nature — of mountains, water, the eternal blue sky. Aatish Taseer, New York Times, 9 Nov. 2023 The eternal battle fought over the fate of Hyrule is between Ganon(dorf) and the forces of darkness versus Zelda and the forces of light. WIRED, 9 Nov. 2023 All saw in nature’s diversity a unity with things deeper, bigger, eternal. Carl Safina, TIME, 5 Oct. 2023 According to Lao Tzu, to name something is to limit it, to cut it off from the eternal. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 2 Nov. 2023 By the end, the witnesses who’ve undergone these experiences are proselytizing, with beatific smiles, for the eternal life of the soul. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 31 Oct. 2023 But fame’s pitfalls, heightened by the eternal internet, also are underrated. Brenda Cronin, WSJ, 29 Oct. 2023
Its charms are straightforward, appealing to the eternal giggly adolescent in all of us. Ligaya Mishan Melody Melamed, New York Times, 23 Nov. 2022 But anyone capable of transcending the eternal now of the news cycle and recalling the debates of a decade ago might hear echoes in the Lemoine story of quite another dispute about personhood and language. Sasha Frere-Jones, Harper’s Magazine , 9 Nov. 2022 These ancient seas and islands offer some reassuring glimpse of the eternal. Stanley Stewart, Travel + Leisure, 24 Apr. 2022 Youth, like hope, seemingly springs eternal at the dawn of a new season. New York Times, 8 Apr. 2022 But hope springs eternal, maybe more so in baseball than anywhere else. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Apr. 2022 More significantly, if life eternal is to know the only true God, as John 17:3 states, is their salvation at stake? The Salt Lake Tribune, 26 Mar. 2022 Hope wasn’t given much of a chance to spring eternal on Monday for the Diamondbacks. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, 14 Mar. 2022 Hope springs eternal, though, as the two never confirmed their breakup with an official statement. Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'eternal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


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


1573, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near eternal

Cite this Entry

“Eternal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: having no beginning and no end : lasting forever
eternal bliss
: continuing without interruption
that dog's eternal barking
eternalness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on eternal

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