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 So in our verse John 1:1, WAS, speaks of the eternal, pre-existence of the Word; The Word being itself a name for the Second Person of the Trinity, who has no beginning and no end, and who came to earth in the form of a man and was called Jesus. Steve Manning,, "Manning: God holds us together physically and spiritually, but also structurally," 9 Nov. 2019 But hope springs eternal for his opponents, and in 2020, Republican Michelle Fischbach, the former president of the state Senate, is a leading candidate running for his seat. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "Collin Peterson of MN was 1 of 2 Dems to vote against impeachment inquiry. Here’s what you need to know about him.," 31 Oct. 2019 China is an increasingly vital financial, military and diplomatic lifeline for India’s eternal, nuclear-armed foe, Pakistan, while India has for decades hosted prominent Tibetan exiles, including the Dalai Lama. The Economist, "The leaders of China and India pretend to get along," 17 Oct. 2019 Orthodox Judaism is based on the premise that the Torah – essentially, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible –represents God’s eternal and unchangeable rules for Jewish living and religious observance. The Conversation, oregonlive, "Jewish High Holy Days, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, embody renewal, repentance," 28 Sep. 2019 Granted, belief in the tragedy of eternal damnation is fertile soil. Nicholas Frankovich, National Review, "The Eternal Debate over the Nature of Hell," 12 Sep. 2019 Which prompts some eternal questions, like which members of Monday's starting XI could do a job for the Three Lions propah?, "Predicting Who Will Be Called Up From the England Under-21 XI in the Near Future," 10 Sep. 2019 The cemetery considers the move to offer pet burial a natural extension of a wildly popular members-only dog-walking group that for the past two decades has breathed life into this place of eternal rest. Clarence Williams,, "District of Columbia’s first pet cemetery to open at a historic graveyard," 11 July 2019 That’s one quality the Soul Squad aims to imbue in the new test subjects for this not-so-modest experiment that could save Team Cockroach (plus all of humanity) from eternal torture via butthole spiders and spastic dentistry. Dan Snierson,, "Inside The Good Place's final season: 'This will be worth it'," 16 Sep. 2019

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

21 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Eternal.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on eternal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for eternal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with eternal

Spanish Central: Translation of eternal

Nglish: Translation of eternal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of eternal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on eternal

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