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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
And yet for some fans, hope continues to spring eternal. Christopher Maag, New York Times, 13 Sep. 2023 Jordan, by contrast, is an eternal optimist; there’s no frustration that a random hook-up and a few thousand likes can’t chase away. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 8 Sep. 2023 At midnight on September 8, the late great Jimmy Buffett released three new singles from that eternal five o’clock up in the sky. Vulture, 8 Sep. 2023 Hope springs eternal, and there’s a compelling new call for reform. James Freeman, WSJ, 16 Aug. 2023 On June 9, amid all this talk of eternal life and extinction, hundreds of people filled the pews during a service at St. Paul’s Church in Fürth, Germany, a 1,000-year-old village in northern Bavaria. David Kushner, Rolling Stone, 4 Sep. 2023 My eternal respect and gratitude to you, my friend. Country Living Staff, Country Living, 3 Sep. 2023 The many scenes at Tanglewood or in Connecticut give the impression of eternal summer — a motif echoed in an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem — taking on more muted tones as Felicia’s health declines. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Sep. 2023 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Terry Pluto, cleveland, 2 Sep. 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 22 Sep. 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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