Definition of intrinsic
1a : belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing the intrinsic worth of a gem the intrinsic brightness of a starb : being or relating to a semiconductor in which the concentration of charge carriers is characteristic of the material itself instead of the content of any impurities it contains
2a : originating or due to causes within a body, organ, or part an intrinsic metabolic diseaseb : originating and included wholly within an organ or part intrinsic muscles — compare extrinsic 1b
intrinsicallyplay \in-ˈtrin-zi-k(ə-)lē, -ˈtrin(t)-si-\ adverb
Examples of intrinsic in a Sentence
He is the ideal courtier. His nobility is intrinsic, and so he can drape himself in this purple cloak of tasteful modernity, make a cocktail of past and present, the cream of both. —Noah Charney, The Art Thief, 2007
Subatomic particles have an intrinsic orientation known as spin, which can point in one of two directions, conventionally called “up” and “down.” —Abraham Loeb, Scientific American, November 2006
Yet despite the digital culture's endless celebrations of diversity … there is a certain mindless repetition intrinsic to the Internet, where ideas and software multiply a thousandfold with one click; where the lure of wider communication drives users toward an ultimate “interoperability” and, hence, toward an ultimate uniformity. —Julian Dibbell, Harper's, August 2001
the intrinsic value of a gem
the intrinsic brightness of a star
Recent Examples of intrinsic from the Web
Again, the cap had no intrinsic value and the birds didn’t know of Kabadayi would return with food.
Intrinsic value will catch up with the high flyers eventually.
Cable television and radio talk shows also had become an intrinsic part of the national baseball conversation, adding to the breadth—a nd volume—o f the chatter accompanying the game.
That public authority worked hard to understand all the assets that the city and port owned and then managed them strategically, selling off some and redeveloping others, to unlock their intrinsic value.
Flynn said the strategy is intrinsic in what the department does.
Where families are strongly focused on good grades and brand-name colleges, there is sometimes less willingness to step back and encourage students to take risks and develop intrinsic motivation.
In launching strikes on ISIS in Syria, the Obama administration wanted to avoid entanglement in the Syrian Civil War and the intrinsic risk of escalation with Iran.
In addition to the intrinsic, i.e., basic mechanisms of action of levocetirizine and montelukast, there is synergy at multiple target within the immune system.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intrinsic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
INTRINSIC Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of intrinsic for English Language Learners
: belonging to the essential nature of a thing : occurring as a natural part of something
Medical Definition of intrinsic
1: originating or due to causes or factors within a body, organ, or part intrinsic asthma
2: originating and included wholly within an organ or part—used especially of certain muscles the cricothyroid is an intrinsic muscle of the larynx; compare extrinsic 2
Legal Definition of intrinsic
: belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up intrinsic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).