ex·​tra·​ter·​res·​tri·​al | \ ˌek-strə-tə-ˈre-strē-əl How to pronounce extraterrestrial (audio) , -ˈres-chəl, -ˈresh-chəl\

Definition of extraterrestrial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: originating, existing, or occurring outside the earth or its atmosphere extraterrestrial life



Definition of extraterrestrial (Entry 2 of 2)

: a being from another world : an extraterrestrial being

Examples of extraterrestrial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Are there any other artists you admire who are using extraterrestrial and space mission inspirations in their work? Anna Goldwater Alexander, WIRED, "Photographer Dan Winters on His Apollo Obsession," 16 July 2019 As many Central Floridians turn to the skies to watch rocket launches or gaze up at the moon, one Orlando resident is creating extraterrestrial environments right in his own garage. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, "Apollo 11: Orlando photographer ‘builds space’ using Legos and imagination," 16 July 2019 Over the next two days, the astronauts made a kind of extraterrestrial video diary. Norah O'donnell, CBS News, ""Man on the Moon:" The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing," 16 July 2019 But those hoping for an extraterrestrial sighting might want to look elsewhere — Nevada only ranked 13th in the country for unexplained aircraft sightings. Vandana Ravikumar, USA TODAY, "Are we alone? Nearly 400K people have signed up for Facebook event to 'storm' Area 51 and 'see them aliens'," 12 July 2019 Most respondents also agreed that the federal government should be primarily responsible for extraterrestrial efforts, with academia, private companies and other countries playing a lesser role. Julia Webster, Time, "Most Americans Say Returning to the Moon Shouldn't Be a Space Program Priority," 8 July 2019 In Brightburn, Elizabeth Banks and David Denman play a couple raising an extraterrestrial child (Jackson A. Dunn) who doesn’t exactly share Clark Kent’s love for the human race. Clark Collis, EW.com, "James Gunn is 'talking' about Brightburn sequel," 6 July 2019 Davies regards our self-protective, self-destructive capacity for redefinition _ denial indistinguishable from optimism _ with dismay, wonder and love, much as did his version of the extraterrestrial time-and-space-traveling Doctor. Robert Lloyd, chicagotribune.com, "Review: HBO’s ‘Years and Years’ finds entertaining family drama in the dystopian near-future," 26 June 2019 The 1997 film Men in Black perfectly posited Will Smith’s New York cop as an audience surrogate to a world full of extraterrestrial activity. Josh Spiegel, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Hidden Potential of 'Men in Black: International'," 15 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That smell from all those covert extraterrestrials — ewwwwwww. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "The men, and some women, are back in black," 12 June 2019 Captive State PG13 The world has been taken over by extraterrestrials and the humans are their captive slaves. Guy Hanford, Ramona Sentinel, "Flickers: ‘Shaft,’ ‘Men in Black International,’ ‘Dead Don’t Die’ open Friday," 13 June 2019 But politicians did not always favor pursuit of such extraterrestrials, extremophile and/or intelligent and/or otherwise. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "The WIRED Guide to Aliens," 5 June 2019 There have been multiple references to extraterrestrials throughout AHS, most notably in Asylum. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "American Horror Story Season 9: Everything We Know So Far," 3 Apr. 2019 Here are oceans of contingencies navigable only by an alternative race of extraterrestrials: the angels of heaven. Brad Leithauser, WSJ, "‘The Grandmaster’ Review: The 64-Square Universe," 8 Nov. 2018 Maybe extraterrestrials will be able to figure this out after all. Cory Zapatka, The Verge, "Decoding images from the Golden Record," 30 Oct. 2018 Elle Fanning plays one of the extraterrestrials, who find themselves in the suburbs of London in 1977. Gabe Cohn, New York Times, "What’s on TV Saturday: ‘American Made’ and ‘I Want That Wedding’," 9 June 2018 Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, a former city councilwoman from the west Dade suburb of Doral, has publicly discussed meeting extraterrestrials as a child. David Smiley And Alex Daugherty, miamiherald, "They've met aliens and dictators and slimed Al Gore: Meet Ros-Lehtinen's would-be heirs | Miami Herald," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extraterrestrial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of extraterrestrial


1848, in the meaning defined above


1950, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about extraterrestrial

Statistics for extraterrestrial

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for extraterrestrial

The first known use of extraterrestrial was in 1848

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for extraterrestrial



English Language Learners Definition of extraterrestrial

: coming from or existing outside the planet Earth

More from Merriam-Webster on extraterrestrial

Spanish Central: Translation of extraterrestrial

Nglish: Translation of extraterrestrial for Spanish Speakers

Comments on extraterrestrial

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!