ex·​trin·​sic | \ek-ˈstrin-zik, -ˈstrin(t)-sik \

Definition of extrinsic 

1a : not forming part of or belonging to a thing : extraneous

b : originating from or on the outside especially : originating outside a part and acting upon the part as a whole extrinsic muscles of the tongue

2 : external

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Other Words from extrinsic

extrinsically \ek-​ˈstrin-​zi-​k(ə-​)lē, -​ˈstrin(t)-​si-​ \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for extrinsic

extrinsic, extraneous, foreign, alien mean external to a thing, its essential nature, or its original character. extrinsic applies to what is distinctly outside the thing in question or is not contained in or derived from its essential nature. sentimental value that is extrinsic to the house's market value extraneous applies to what is on or comes from the outside and may or may not be capable of becoming an essential part. arguments extraneous to the issue foreign applies to what is so different as to be rejected or repelled or to be incapable of becoming assimilated. techniques foreign to French cuisine alien is stronger than foreign in suggesting opposition, repugnance, or irreconcilability. a practice totally alien to her nature

Examples of extrinsic in a Sentence

You have to consider any extrinsic factors in the success of the business. the fact that the ring belonged to your grandmother is extrinsic to its value to a jeweler

Recent Examples on the Web

There’s no basis for such cynicism, and extrinsic evidence to the contrary. WSJ, "Don’t Expect SEC to Give Elon Musk a Pass," 21 Aug. 2018 Neither a facial review of these advertisements nor the FTC's extrinsic evidence established that these materials are likely to mislead a reasonable consumer. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "DirecTV beats $4B lawsuit that alleged it tricked customers into paying more," 20 Aug. 2018 Surface stains, also known as extrinsic stains, come from the usual suspects: coffee, red wine, tobacco, and dark colored foods. Alexandra Tunell, Harper's BAZAAR, "Is Charcoal Toothpaste Safe to Use?," 9 Aug. 2017 But morality — whether intrinsic or extrinsic — doesn't hinge on the threat or promise of an afterlife or of being saved. Kirsten Clodfelter, Good Housekeeping, "When My Young Daughter Asked If God Was Just a Story, Here's Why I Said Yes," 28 Apr. 2016 Lesyk believes athletes generally have either intrinsic or extrinsic personalities. Dennis Wagner, azcentral, "Phoenix man's questionable marathon times draw him into debate on amateur cheating," 11 May 2018 In a child’s formative years, the intrinsic benefits of sport far outweigh the extrinsic rewards—the trophies and medals and records. Isabel Fattal, The Atlantic, "How to Parent an Olympic Athlete," 8 Feb. 2018 All of these foods or drinks cause or contribute to extrinsic stains. Kristi Kellogg, GQ, "How To Whiten Teeth Fast: 15 Bright Methods," 15 Oct. 2017 In college, many of those extrinsic factors and accountability measures go away. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Getting into college was the easy part. Staying there is becoming harder than ever, experts say.," 14 Aug. 2017

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

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for extrinsic

French & Late Latin; French extrinsèque, from Late Latin extrinsecus, from Latin, adverb, from without; akin to Latin exter outward and to Latin sequi to follow — more at exterior, sue

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Statistics for extrinsic

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for extrinsic

The first known use of extrinsic was in 1613

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More Definitions for extrinsic



English Language Learners Definition of extrinsic

: not part of something : coming from the outside of something


ex·​trin·​sic | \ek-ˈstrin-zik, -ˈstrin(t)-sik \

Medical Definition of extrinsic 

1 : originating or due to causes or factors from or on the outside of a body, organ, or part renal tumors or cysts…causing extrinsic compression of the renal vasculatureScientific American Medicine

2 : originating outside a part and acting on the part as a whole used especially of certain muscles the extrinsic muscles of the tongue — compare intrinsic sense 2

Other Words from extrinsic

extrinsically \-​zi-​k(ə-​)lē, -​si-​ \ adverb


ex·​trin·​sic | \ek-ˈstrin-zik, -sik \

Legal Definition of extrinsic 

: not contained in or occurring in something (as a contract)

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Comments on extrinsic

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