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
But then the great flow of experience, hitting one's stride, learning with genuine and intrinsic motivation.
There is intrinsic value in the Indy 500’s long relationship with ABC, as evidenced by a marathon of past races that have played this week on ESPN Classic.
And auction prices don’t necessarily translate into intrinsic value.
Speciation might not only be an evolutionary consequence of fitness differences and natural selection, but a property intrinsic to evolution, just as all matter has gravity.
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-
First Known Use: 1635
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
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