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  1. without beginning or end; lasting forever; always existing (opposed to temporal): eternal life.
  2. perpetual; ceaseless; endless: eternal quarreling; eternal chatter.
  3. enduring; immutable: eternal principles.
  4. Metaphysics. existing outside all relations of time; not subject to change.
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  1. something that is eternal.
  2. the Eternal, God.
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Origin of eternal

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin aeternālis, equivalent to aetern(us) (see eterne) + -ālis -al1
Related formse·ter·nal·i·ty [ee-tur-nal-i-tee] /ˌi tɜrˈnæl ɪ ti/, e·ter·nal·ness, noune·ter·nal·ly, adverbnon·e·ter·nal, adjectivenon·e·ter·nal·ly, adverbnon·e·ter·nal·ness, nounpre·e·ter·nal, adjectivequa·si-e·ter·nal, adjectivequa·si-e·ter·nal·ly, adverb


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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.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for eternal


    1. without beginning or end; lasting for evereternal life
    2. (as noun)the eternal
  1. (often capital) denoting or relating to that which is without beginning and end, regarded as an attribute of God
  2. unchanged by time, esp being true or valid for all time; immutableeternal truths
  3. seemingly unceasing; occurring again and againeternal bickering
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Derived Formseternality or eternalness, nouneternally, 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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper