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

This extraterrestrial is quickly taking over The Masked Singer. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "See Who Is Still Left on 'The Masked Singer'," 9 Feb. 2019 To the number of fine books about these extraterrestrial oddities can now be added a worthy pair for a general readership, one that recounts the history and present state of black-hole research and the other that peers into its near future. Alan Hirshfeld, WSJ, "Book Review: Feeling Gravity’s Pull," 16 Nov. 2018 Rodriguez Aguilera isn’t the only candidate in this year’s midterm elections to have an extraterrestrial connection. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Florida House candidate who claims she was abducted by aliens endorsed by major newspaper," 21 Aug. 2018 The world grapples with new knowledge of an intelligent extraterrestrial civilization, and all the promise and terror that comes with that discovery. Vox Staff, Vox, "The most thought-provoking books the Vox staff read in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 Shortly before Halloween, the chairman of Harvard's astronomy department openly declared that an interstellar object hurtling through our Solar System might just be part of an extraterrestrial craft. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Nailing down the nature of ‘Oumuamua—it’s probably a comet, but…," 29 Nov. 2018 Last April, a SpaceX rocket launched that mission to map 85 percent of the sky in the coming years and look for planets similar to ours, ones that could be prime candidates to hunt for extraterrestrial life. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "Kepler's Last Light, and Its Towering Legacy," 8 Feb. 2019 Denying the existence of extraterrestrial life, or fairies, or Santa Claus, does not constitute a worldview. Tim Crane, WSJ, "‘Seven Types of Atheism’ Review: Better Off Without Him?," 17 Dec. 2018 For most of the 60-year history of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), researchers have hunted for radio signals. Mike Wall, Space.com, "Student Project Scans Sky for Alien Laser Beams," 29 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Alex Sharp leads the cast, which includes Nicole Kidman (as a human) and Elle Fanning and Ruth Wilson (as extraterrestrials). Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times, "Summer 2018 Movie Release Schedule," 4 May 2018 So how close are the nearest signaling extraterrestrials? NBC News, "Simple math shows how many space aliens may be out there," 26 Jan. 2018 In Space Opera, humanity is living blissfully unaware of alien life, until extraterrestrials appear and invite them into an advanced intergalactic civilization. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Space Opera is the funniest science fiction novel I’ve read since Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy," 14 Apr. 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.

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First Known Use of extraterrestrial


1848, in the meaning defined above


1950, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for extraterrestrial

Last Updated

11 May 2019

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Time Traveler for extraterrestrial

The first known use of extraterrestrial was in 1848

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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

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to mark by some ceremony or observation

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