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



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


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 Auditors recommended using Workday and for units to stop using external budgeting software. Emily Walkenhorst, Arkansas Online, "Cutbacks at UALR in future," 23 Nov. 2019 In one week, Mojang saw 1.4 million downloads across the App Store and Google Play, per external stats logged by Sensor Tower. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Best of the Decade: How Minecraft changed the game for videogames," 23 Nov. 2019 Still dissatisfied with how the process played out behind closed doors, North Carolina’s GOP leaders contracted a firm to conduct an external investigation into whether the fund was established legally. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Why Are Democratic Governors Still Doing Favors for the Oil Industry?," 22 Nov. 2019 An unauthorized vehicle attempted to gain entry to the White House complex by following another vehicle that was lawfully entering at an external complex checkpoint. CBS News, "Secret Service: Driver tries to get into White House complex by following official vehicle through gate," 21 Nov. 2019 Also, our platform and applications are designed in such a manner that any external threat or bug is not allowed to become big beyond a point. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "Truecaller taps into India’s fintech market to power its next phase of growth," 11 Nov. 2019 Smith explores that power in his new book, Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age, co-written with Microsoft senior director of external relations Carol Ann Browne. Clare Duffy, CNN, "Top Microsoft exec says online privacy has reached 'a crisis point'," 14 Oct. 2019 Their decision was business-related and not influenced by external pressure as being misreported by certain media outlets. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers say scope manufacturer Leupold & Stevens did not renew sponsorship with team for business reasons," 11 Oct. 2019 Greg Jao, director of external relations at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, said in a statement. Fox News, "University officials held 'personally liable' for discrimination against Christian student group," 1 Oct. 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


1542, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1635, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for external


Latin externus external, from exter — more at exterior

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Time Traveler for external

Time Traveler

The first known use of external was in 1542

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Statistics for external

Last Updated

27 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“External.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/externally. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for external


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


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

Kids Definition of external

: situated on or relating to the outside : outside


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

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


very cautious or careful

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