intrinsic

adjective
in·​trin·​sic | \ in-ˈtrin-zik How to pronounce intrinsic (audio) , -ˈtrin(t)-sik\

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 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
2a : 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 sense 1b

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web

There’s no intrinsic reason why this combination of documentary and fiction should be harmful or deceptive, any more than interventionist approaches to archival footage are intrinsically less valid than modest ones. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Rolling Thunder Revue,” Reviewed: Martin Scorsese’s Slippery Chronicle of Bob Dylan in Concert," 14 June 2019 So did a flexible view of what baseball’s intrinsic qualities were. The Economist, "Baseball and exceptionalism," 8 June 2019 While all the materials have intrinsic qualities, any material can ride very well or very poorly, be very strong or very fragile, depending on how it is used. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Road Bikes for Every Cyclist," 8 May 2019 Teaching a client to understand why some Danish dressers have more intrinsic value and will look better in their house than something else that’s maybe new or not, that's our role. Joanna Saltz, House Beautiful, "Five Designers on How to Make Old Things New Again," 8 Feb. 2019 The films are minimal and not narrated, highlighting the ephemeral beauty of the draping process, as well as the open-ended nature intrinsic to those six yards of cloth. Meara Sharma, Vogue, "Why I Am Taking the Sari Back to the Street," 30 Apr. 2019 Someone who is not acclimated to sand will often feel sore in their feet and calves initially, as the small intrinsic muscles are stimulated. Amy Marturana, SELF, "5 Things to Know Before Working Out on the Beach," 6 Apr. 2019 Former employees have complained to me that this cycle tends to reward projects that can be completely quickly to juice the metric in question, impress the boss, and earn their bonus, whatever the intrinsic merits of the project in question. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A majority of Americans don’t think social networks are good for the world," 21 Nov. 2018 Timothy Verdon, who lectures on Renaissance art at Stanford University’s campus in Florence, said that intrinsic to the Renaissance was the rediscovery of the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. John Hooper, WSJ, "Exhibits Mark 500 Years of Leonardo da Vinci, the Original Renaissance Man," 31 Oct. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of intrinsic

1635, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for intrinsic

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

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Statistics for intrinsic

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for intrinsic

The first known use of intrinsic was in 1635

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More Definitions for intrinsic

intrinsic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of intrinsic

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

intrinsic

adjective
in·​trin·​sic | \ in-ˈtrin-zik How to pronounce intrinsic (audio) , -ˈtrin(t)-sik How to pronounce intrinsic (audio) \

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 sense 2

intrinsic

adjective
in·​trin·​sic | \ in-ˈtrin-zik, -sik How to pronounce intrinsic (audio) \

Legal Definition of intrinsic

: belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing

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Comments on intrinsic

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