eter·​nal | \i-ˈtər-nᵊl \

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 \ transitive verb
eternally \ i-​ˈtər-​nᵊl-​ē \ adverb
eternalness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for eternal

Synonyms: Adjective

ceaseless, dateless, deathless, endless, everlasting, immortal, permanent, perpetual, undying, unending

Antonyms: Adjective

impermanent, mortal, temporary, transient

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Examples of eternal in a Sentence


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

But the eternal quest to capsize the Warriors will determine this latest decision, more than corporate ambitions or children’s schools. Lee Jenkins,, "Kevin Durant and the Dagger That Foreshadowed the Broom," 12 June 2018 But in death, achieving eternal rest has proved far more difficult. Washington Post, "Effort to move former president Polk’s body is resurrected," 10 Apr. 2018 Predictably before Lewis’ presser, got a run of emails and social crapola suggesting the media was complicit in the Bengals eternal quest to be average. Paul Daugherty,, "Daugherty: Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is a victim of his own success," 4 Jan. 2018 The week opens with the Waning Quarter Moon in the sign of intellectual idealist Libra, and this energy conjures images of castles, queens, and the eternal quest towards the just-out-of -reach. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Weekly Horoscopes January 8-14," 8 Jan. 2014 The competing narrative to superstar-centric ball is the eternal truths of five-man basketball, as practiced by the Pacers. Bill Livingston,, "Cavaliers-Pacers: LeBron James quarterbacks win to even series -- Bill Livingston (photos)," 22 Apr. 2018 Underneath the pomp and circumstance, and all the feel-good that baseball has returned once again and that hope springs eternal, all Opening Day is is one game. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "One game. One opening loss. No shortage of knee-jerking after Rangers fall to Astros | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 29 Mar. 2018 Instead, Wall-E’s success came from a source not as easy to replicate: an intricate understanding of the eternal appeal of art and its ability to inspire. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Wall-E' References That Need to Be Revisited," 27 June 2018 Israel claims the entire city as its eternal capital. Washington Post, "Trump’s Mideast team meets Israeli premier over peace plan," 22 June 2018

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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Statistics for eternal

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for eternal

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

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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 \

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

What made you want to look up eternal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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