external

adjective
ex·​ter·​nal | \ ek-ˈstər-nᵊl How to pronounce external (audio) \

Definition of external

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : capable of being perceived outwardly external signs of a disease
b(1) : having merely the outward appearance of something : superficial
(2) : not intrinsic or essential external circumstances
2a : of, relating to, or connected with the outside or an outer part the building's external features
b : applied or applicable to the outside a lotion for external use
3a(1) : situated outside, apart, or beyond specifically : situated near or toward the surface of the body
(2) : arising or acting from outside an external force
b : of or relating to dealings or relationships with foreign countries
c : having existence independent of the mind external reality

external

noun

Definition of external (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is external: such as
a : an outer part
b : an external feature or aspect usually used in plural

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Other Words from external

Adjective

externally \ ek-​ˈstər-​nᵊl-​ē How to pronounce externally (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for external

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of external in a Sentence

Adjective the external features of the building the external signs of the disease
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective As head of the Preserving Ambulation and Limb Salvage clinic at UT Health, he’s seen the limitations of internal and external devices for diabetic patients with an aggressive condition called Charcot to prevent amputation. Laura Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "‘Geniuses’ pitch anti-cancer drug, medical devices at UT Health San Antonio," 7 Nov. 2019 Are the coming obstacles in this fast-forming relationship more internal or external? Dan Snierson, EW.com, "This Is Us producers break down two difficult dinners about race and class," 6 Nov. 2019 In his first term the big menaces were external—from President Donald Trump’s America-first trade protectionism to China’s retaliation for the arrest (at America’s behest) of a Chinese telecoms executive. The Economist, "After the election, can Justin Trudeau unite Canada?," 22 Oct. 2019 Saban said the explosion of the internet changed players so their motivation was more external than internal. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, "Rewinding Nick Saban’s radio show before Texas A&M," 11 Oct. 2019 Because men’s genitalia are external, they sometimes get pinched in their clothing, which is uncomfortable. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, "Dear Abby: Her ‘friends with benefits’ situation can’t move to the next level due to roommate complications," 9 Oct. 2019 Because men’s genitalia are external, they sometimes get pinched in their clothing, which is uncomfortable. Abigail Van Buren, Twin Cities, "Dear Abby: Roommate’s presence complicates ‘friends with benefits’ setup," 9 Oct. 2019 Elite complicity The issues are not entirely external. Zoe Cormack, Quartz Africa, "Kenya’s huge wind power project might be great for the environment but not for local communities," 3 Sep. 2019 Some factors hitting the economy are external, such as the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, which has thrashed global markets. Washington Post, "AP Explains: State of Mexico under President López Obrador," 31 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Information out to the Foundation, alumni and other externals, too. Dawn Rhodes, chicagotribune.com, "Southern Illinois University president ousted amid swirling controversy," 13 July 2018 The externals extend upward from the hipbone to the ribs and spine, and the internals rise forward from the hip to ribs. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What's an oblique? Explaining the pesky strain that's keeping baseball players down," 23 Apr. 2018 While the Notebook 9 Pen carries the high-end internals that would justify a $1,399 price tag, its externals don't match up. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Samsung Notebook 9 Pen review: Stylus convenience, devoid of style," 4 Apr. 2018 The kind of love that isn’t based on externals, but on a deep connection within. Paige Davis, Health.com, "Breast Cancer Stripped Me Down Physically and Emotionally—and Taught Me More Than I Ever Imagined About Love," 2 Apr. 2018 After a minute or so, the mind goes outward once again and attends to the externals. Martin Seligman, BostonGlobe.com, "When the brain is off to sleep — but hard at work," 22 Mar. 2018 MEMBERS OF THE EXTERNAL EXPERT ADVISORY PANEL PETER HARVEY, Esq. NOLA.com, "NFL suspends Dallas' Ezekiel Elliott for 6 games," 11 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'external.' 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 external

Adjective

1542, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

circa 1635, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for external

Adjective

Latin externus external, from exter — more at exterior

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Statistics for external

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for external

The first known use of external was in 1542

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More Definitions for external

external

adjective
How to pronounce external (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of external

: located, seen, or used on the outside or surface of something
: coming from outside
: existing or occurring outside your mind

external

adjective
ex·​ter·​nal | \ ek-ˈstər-nᵊl How to pronounce external (audio) \

Kids Definition of external

: situated on or relating to the outside : outside

external

adjective
ex·​ter·​nal | \ ek-ˈstərn-ᵊl How to pronounce external (audio) \

Medical Definition of external

1 : capable of being perceived outwardly : bodily external signs of a disease
2a : situated at, on, or near the outside an external protective covering an external muscle
b : directed toward the outside : having an outside object external perception eyesight and the other external senses
c : used by applying to the outside an external lotion
3a(1) : situated near or toward the surface of the body also : situated away from the mesial plane the external condyle of the humerus
(2) : arising or acting from outside : having an outside origin external causes external stimuli
b : of, relating to, or consisting of something outside the mind : having existence independent of the mind sensations aroused by external phenomena external reality

Other Words from external

externally \ -​ᵊl-​ē How to pronounce externally (audio) \ adverb

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Comments on external

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