ex·tra·ter·res·tri·al | \ˌek-strə-tə-ˈre-strē-əl, -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

Broder finds the surreal in the carnal (in this way, her book reminds me a bit of Miranda July’s The First Bad Man) and the mundane in the extraterrestrial. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "In Melissa Broder’s The Pisces, a Darkly Erotic Love Story Between a Woman and a Merman," 1 May 2018 Mars has long been everyone's hands-down favorite in the search for extraterrestrial life. NBC News, "Here's the scientific explanation for that 'alien spaceship' on Mars," 23 June 2018 Although not exactly the lawless wild west, the search for extraterrestrial life remains so speculative that meaningful regulations are few and far between. Leonard David, Scientific American, "As Space Becomes a Busy Place, NASA Bolsters Its Planet-Contamination Police," 3 July 2018 Professor Lattanzio reported on work done by an international team of researchers who have come up with a set of specific predictions about the nature of extraterrestrial life if it is discovered on Enceladus, Europa or beyond. Jamie Seidel, Fox News, "Wild new alien theory emerges," 28 June 2018 Occasionally, a beam of light from the Capofaro lighthouse shot past me, like something extraterrestrial. Howie Kahn, Smithsonian, "These Volcanic, Italian Islands Have Been Beloved by Travelers Since Homeric Times," 11 July 2018 But there was an extremely limited supply, brought to Earth only by the occasional extraterrestrial delivery, making this metal of the gods more valuable than gems or gold. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 But in the subtle, creeping way of Arrival and Contact, where an extraterrestrial presence brings terror that’s beyond anything our tiny minds can comprehend. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "The Best Movies of 2018 (So Far)," 19 June 2018 At one end supermarket tabloids published stories and grainy pictures of extraterrestrial landings and improbable celebrity shenanigans. Amar Bhidé, WSJ, "Skepticism Beats Snopes as an Antidote to Fake News," 8 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Would Boyajian have really raised so much money if KIC 8462852 hadn’t generated so much hype about intelligent extraterrestrials? Neel V. Patel, Slate Magazine, "How Interesting Does Science Have to Be for the Public to Fund It?," 4 Jan. 2018 The search for extraterrestrials is very expensive. Meghan Bartels, Newsweek, "Do Aliens Exist? Human Technology May Prevent Us From Finding Out," 1 Mar. 2018 Perhaps extraterrestrials had constructed a titanic array of solar panels around the star, a hypothetical concept proposed years ago by physicist Freeman Dyson. Ben Guarino, Washington Post, "The strangest star in the sky finally has an explanation for its flicker," 3 Jan. 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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Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

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The first known use of extraterrestrial was in 1848

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English Language Learners Definition of extraterrestrial

: coming from or existing outside the planet Earth

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Spanish Central: Translation of extraterrestrial

Nglish: Translation of extraterrestrial for Spanish Speakers

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a state of commotion or excitement

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