intrinsic

play
adjective in·trin·sic \ in-ˈtrin-zik , -ˈtrin(t)-sik \

Definition of intrinsic

1 a :belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing
  • the intrinsic worth of a gem
  • the intrinsic brightness of a star
b :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
2 a :originating or due to causes within a body, organ, or part
  • an intrinsic metabolic disease
b :originating and included wholly within an organ or part
  • intrinsic muscles
— compare extrinsic 1b

intrinsically

play \in-ˈtrin-zi-k(ə-)lē, -ˈtrin(t)-si-\ adverb

Examples of intrinsic in a Sentence

  1. 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 CharneyThe Art Thief2007
  2. Subatomic particles have an intrinsic orientation known as spin, which can point in one of two directions, conventionally called "up" and "down." —Abraham LoebScientific AmericanNovember 2006
  3. 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 DibbellHarper'sAugust 2001
  4. the intrinsic value of a gem

  5. the intrinsic brightness of a star

Recent Examples of intrinsic from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of intrinsic

French intrinsèque internal, from Late Latin intrinsecus, from Latin, adverb, inwardly; akin to Latin intra within — more at intra-


INTRINSIC Defined for English Language Learners

intrinsic

play
adjective

Definition of intrinsic for English Language Learners

  • : belonging to the essential nature of a thing : occurring as a natural part of something


Medical Dictionary

intrinsic

play
adjective in·trin·sic \ in-ˈtrin-zik , -ˈtrin(t)-sik \

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

Law Dictionary

intrinsic

play
adjective in·trin·sic \ in-ˈtrin-zik, -sik \

legal Definition of intrinsic

:belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing


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