intrinsic

adjective

in·​trin·​sic in-ˈtrin-zik How to pronounce intrinsic (audio) -ˈtrin(t)-sik How to pronounce intrinsic (audio)
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 sense 1b

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 on the Web Vinny was able to combine his unique style while always maintaining his intrinsic humility. Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2024 Coins and bullion items fetch prices much closer to their intrinsic value. Tribune News Service, The Mercury News, 6 June 2024 One good first step is to rule out intrinsic sleep disorders, says Dr. Venkata Mukkavilli, a psychiatrist specializing in sleep medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center’s O’Donnell Brain Institute. Jamie Friedlander Serrano, TIME, 6 June 2024 And are partly arising from changes intrinsic to the pathology in the nerve cells, so that the pattern of genes expressed by that nerve cell are altered in a variety of ways. Steven Strogatz, Quanta Magazine, 23 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for intrinsic 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'intrinsic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1635, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of intrinsic was in 1635

Dictionary Entries Near intrinsic

Cite this Entry

“Intrinsic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intrinsic. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

intrinsic

adjective
in·​trin·​sic in-ˈtrin-zik How to pronounce intrinsic (audio)
-ˈtrin(t)-sik
: belonging to the essential nature of a thing
the intrinsic value of a gem
intrinsically adverb

Medical Definition

intrinsic

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

Legal Definition

intrinsic

adjective
in·​trin·​sic in-ˈtrin-zik, -sik How to pronounce intrinsic (audio)
: belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing

More from Merriam-Webster on intrinsic

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!