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 eternal (audio) \ transitive verb
eternally \ i-​ˈtər-​nᵊl-​ē How to pronounce eternal (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 Fine watches may be eternal, but Hublot’s latest creation is tailor-made for summer. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 7 July 2021 Rival actresses Streep and Goldie Hawn drink a magic potion that promises eternal youth, but the side effects have abnormal results in Robert Zemeckis’ utterly weird but often brilliant dark comedy. Ben Flanagan |, al, 22 June 2021 Regardless of season, the quest for eternal youth never ceases. Bianca Salonga, Forbes, 19 June 2021 Zemeckis told her that the studio was looking at people with bigger names for the role, but Rossellini felt uniquely prepared to play a seductress proffering an elixir for eternal youth. Harper's BAZAAR, 3 May 2021 There’s a sense that philosophy is about eternal truths, but carbon removal is a specific new technology. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 3 Mar. 2021 The diamond, for instance, has come to symbolize eternal love and, therefore, is a popular stone for engagement rings. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, 10 June 2021 Ian's like the eternal optimist, eternally happy, eternally positive. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, 25 Mar. 2021 The look is contemporary, the musical vibe retro, and pie is eternal. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 17 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hope springs eternal for the Tigers because of the prospects in their minor league system. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, 17 May 2021 Green shoots of hope reign eternal for both seagrass and sea cow, among those who study and love them most. Jim Waymer, USA TODAY, 8 May 2021 Hope springs eternal for Elmer Fudd come rabbit season! Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 2 Apr. 2021 Like last March, frustration has grown in the absence of any resolution, but for Turell, the team, and its supporters, their faith is more cemented in the eternal. Los Angeles Times, 17 Mar. 2021 Because of that, and because many of these species live in hard-to-survey regions, many of the announcements this past year declared species possibly or probably lost, a sign that hope springs eternal. John R. Platt, Scientific American, 13 Jan. 2021 The old saying is: Hope springs eternal, and that has never been more important for the Avon Lake City Schools, students, staff, and our community. Linda Gandee, cleveland, 29 Dec. 2020 Part of what makes multiple versions of the play eternal, for him, is simply the ritual. Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2020 As a writer, Robinson is a direct descendant of Frost, carrying on his tradition of careful, democratic observations of this country’s landscapes and its people, perpetually keeping one eye on the eternal and the other on the everyday. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 25 Sep. 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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Dictionary Entries Near eternal



eternal flame

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Statistics for eternal

Last Updated

26 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Eternal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for eternal



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

More from Merriam-Webster on eternal

Nglish: Translation of eternal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of eternal for Arabic Speakers


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