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[ik-stur-nl-ahyz] /ɪkˈstɜr nlˌaɪz/
verb (used with object), externalized, externalizing.
to make external; embody in an outward form.
to regard as consisting of externals.
to regard or treat as being caused by externals; attribute to external causes:
to externalize one's difficulties.
to direct (the personality) outward in social relationships.
Also, especially British, externalise.
Origin of externalize
First recorded in 1850-55; external + -ize
Related forms
nonexternalized, adjective
semiexternalized, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for externalize
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You express yourself in your ideas and thoughts, which you try to externalize materially.

    Carmen Ariza Charles Francis Stocking
  • Ideas express the implicit will of the human being to externalize them (what Marcuse called "the imperative quality" of thought).

  • Gora Dwight had told him that he must learn to "externalize his emotions," and he felt that here was the supreme opportunity.

    Black Oxen

    Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
  • A change of will can always manifest itself in action but it is very difficult to externalize convincingly a mere change of heart.

    Play-Making William Archer
  • Then live these in your mind, making no room for unclean thought, and you will externalize them in your body.

    Thoughts I Met on the Highway Ralph Waldo Trine
British Dictionary definitions for externalize


verb (transitive)
to make external; give outward shape to
(psychol) to attribute (one's own feelings) to one's surroundings
Derived Forms
externalization, exteriorization, externalisation, exteriorisation, noun
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 externalize

1852, from external + -ize. Related: Externalized; externalizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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