ex·​trin·​sic | \ ek-ˈstrin-zik How to pronounce extrinsic (audio) , -ˈstrin(t)-sik How to pronounce extrinsic (audio) \

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

Other Words from extrinsic

extrinsically \ ek-​ˈstrin-​zi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce extrinsic (audio) , -​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 NFTs take this desire for an extrinsic reward to its logical conclusion: a financial incentive. Will Bedingfield, Wired, 13 Jan. 2022 Culture needs to go beyond extrinsic rewards to include a clear mission that employees feel connected to and inspired by. Caroline Castrillon, Forbes, 12 Dec. 2021 Such alignment between the intrinsic and extrinsic purpose may not always be possible. John Baldoni, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 The top 10% of salespeople score highest on extrinsic motivation, followed more distantly by intrinsic drivers, while the bottom 10% score very low in those same drivers. Joe Didonato, Forbes, 8 Nov. 2021 Turn Tech into Your Advantage To cope with the churn, fleet owners must think beyond extrinsic motivations like pay and bonuses to increase job satisfaction and create engaged employees vested in the organizations’ future and success. Benjamin Laker, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2021 Ultimately the people who matter will prioritize your well-being over any extrinsic motivation. Dr. Richard Osibanjo, Forbes, 31 Aug. 2021 Instead of extrinsic motivators that coerce students into positive learning behaviors — for example, grades — Classcraft nurtures intrinsic motivators like those inherent in video games. Matt Alderton, USA TODAY, 7 Aug. 2021 When Collecting Intersects With Your Worst Day Even with all its complexities and nuances, collecting can be a passion project for the collector who understands and appreciates the intrinsic and extrinsic value of that collection. Thomas H. Ruggie, Forbes, 13 May 2021

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.

See More

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

Learn More About extrinsic

Time Traveler for extrinsic

Time Traveler

The first known use of extrinsic was in 1613

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near extrinsic




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for extrinsic

Last Updated

21 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Extrinsic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extrinsic. Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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 How to pronounce extrinsic (audio) , -ˈstrin(t)-sik How to pronounce extrinsic (audio) \

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-​ How to pronounce extrinsic (audio) \ adverb


ex·​trin·​sic | \ ek-ˈstrin-zik, -sik How to pronounce extrinsic (audio) \

Legal Definition of extrinsic

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

More from Merriam-Webster on extrinsic

Nglish: Translation of extrinsic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of extrinsic for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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