Synonym Chooser

How is the word extraneous different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of extraneous are alien, extrinsic, and foreign. While all these words mean "external to a thing, its essential nature, or its original character," 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

How do alien and foreign relate to one another, in the sense of extraneous?

Alien is stronger than foreign in suggesting opposition, repugnance, or irreconcilability.

a practice totally alien to her nature

Where would extrinsic be a reasonable alternative to extraneous?

The words extrinsic and extraneous are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, 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

When can foreign be used instead of extraneous?

While in some cases nearly identical to extraneous, 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


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Cite this Entry

“Extraneous.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/extraneous. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

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