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

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Other Words from extrinsic

extrinsically \ ek-​ˈstrin-​zi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce extrinsically (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 Thus, many facets, both intrinsic and extrinsic to the recipient, define the three main reasons for suboptimal and variable influenza vaccine effectiveness. William Warren, Scientific American, "Sanofi Pasteur: fighting influenza by improving today and innovating for tomorrow," 18 Sep. 2019 The more clearly that target is defined, the better the agent performs — that is why many of them are currently tested on old video games, which often provide simple extrinsic reward schemes based on points. Quanta Magazine, "Clever Machines Learn How to Be Curious," 19 Sep. 2017 Humans also respond to extrinsic motivations, which originate in the environment. Quanta Magazine, "Clever Machines Learn How to Be Curious," 19 Sep. 2017 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

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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Time Traveler for extrinsic

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The first known use of extrinsic was in 1613

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Statistics for extrinsic

Last Updated

21 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Extrinsic.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extrinsic. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for extrinsic


How to pronounce extrinsic (audio) How to pronounce extrinsic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of extrinsic

formal : 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 musclesthe extrinsic muscles of the tongue — compare intrinsic sense 2

Other Words from extrinsic

extrinsically \ -​zi-​k(ə-​)lē, -​si-​ How to pronounce extrinsically (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)

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Comments on extrinsic

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


to insert between existing elements

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