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[ih-tur-nl] /ɪˈtɜr nl/
without beginning or end; lasting forever; always existing (opposed to temporal):
eternal life.
perpetual; ceaseless; endless:
eternal quarreling; eternal chatter.
enduring; immutable:
eternal principles.
Metaphysics. existing outside all relations of time; not subject to change.
something that is eternal.
the Eternal, God.
Origin of eternal
1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin aeternālis, equivalent to aetern(us) (see eterne) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
[ee-tur-nal-i-tee] /ˌi tɜrˈnæl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
eternalness, noun
eternally, adverb
noneternal, adjective
noneternally, adverb
noneternalness, noun
preeternal, adjective
quasi-eternal, adjective
quasi-eternally, adverb
1. permanent, unending. Eternal, endless, everlasting, perpetual imply lasting or going on without ceasing. That which is eternal is, by its nature, without beginning or end: God, the eternal Father. That which is endless never stops but goes on continuously as if in a circle: an endless succession of years. That which is everlasting will endure through all future time: a promise of everlasting life. Perpeptual implies continuous renewal as far into the future as one can foresee: perpetual strife between nations. 3. timeless, immortal, deathless, undying, imperishable, indestructible.
1. transitory. 3. mutable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for eternal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Is it wickedness in me that I do not feel a willingness to be left to eternal sin?

    The Minister's Wooing Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Witwoud, almost as much as Millamant herself, is an eternal type.

  • To the eternal credit of the Staff Jane Brown's part in that painful half hour was never known.

    Love Stories Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • She was pretty and kittenish, with fluffy hair and an eternal smile.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • Divine authority for the naturalization of mankind in that eternal Kingdom has been restored to earth in the current age.

British Dictionary definitions for eternal


  1. without beginning or end; lasting for ever: eternal life
  2. (as noun): the eternal
(often capital) denoting or relating to that which is without beginning and end, regarded as an attribute of God
unchanged by time, esp being true or valid for all time; immutable: eternal truths
seemingly unceasing; occurring again and again: eternal bickering
Derived Forms
eternality, eternalness, noun
eternally, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin aeternālis, from Latin aeternus; related to Latin aevum age
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for eternal

late 14c., from Old French eternel or directly from Late Latin aeternalis, from Latin aeternus "of an age, lasting, enduring, permanent, endless," contraction of aeviternus "of great age," from aevum "age" (see eon). Related: Eternally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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