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[ek-struh-tuh-res-tree-uh l] /ˌɛk strə təˈrɛs tri əl/
outside, or originating outside, the limits of the earth.
an extraterrestrial being:
a science fiction novel about extraterrestrials conquering the earth.
Origin of extraterrestrial
First recorded in 1865-70; extra- + terrestrial
Related forms
extraterrestrially, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for extraterrestrial
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But suppose some of our extraterrestrial neighbors are also a bit touchy?

    Reel Life Films Samuel Kimball Merwin
  • We are quite sure that these creatures are of extraterrestrial origin.

    Ten From Infinity Paul W. Fairman
  • All those allusions to the extraterrestrial was so much bilge.

    Ten From Infinity Paul W. Fairman
  • The extraterrestrial had even the ability to achieve a dry quality in his voice.

    Combat Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • When Hank had finished, the extraterrestrial turned his eyes to Loo.

    Combat Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • Every particle of that extraterrestrial wreck had been packed and crated with utmost care.

    Stamped Caution Raymond Zinke Gallun
  • The experience of extraterrestrial research expanded the notion of nature.

British Dictionary definitions for extraterrestrial


occurring or existing beyond the earth's atmosphere
(in science fiction) a being from beyond the earth's atmosphere
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 extraterrestrial

also extra-terrestrial, 1812, from extra- + terrestrial. As a noun from 1956.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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extraterrestrial in Science
Originating, located, or occurring outside the Earth or its atmosphere.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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extraterrestrial in Culture
extraterrestrial [(ek-struh-tuh-res-tree-uhl)]

A descriptive term for things outside the Earth, such as possible civilizations outside the solar system, or objects, such as meteorites, that actually reach the Earth.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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