outer; being on the outer side: the exterior surface; exterior decorations.
intended or suitable for outdoor use: exterior paint.
situated or being outside; pertaining to or connected with what is outside: the exterior territories of a country.


the outer surface or part; outside.
outward form or appearance: She has a placid exterior, but inside she is tormented.
Mathematics. the collection of points not contained in the closure of a given set.

Origin of exterior

1525–35; < Latin, comparative of exter or exterus on the outside, outward. See ex-1
Related formsex·te·ri·or·ly, adverb

Synonyms for exterior

Antonyms for exterior

1, 4. interior.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for exterior

Contemporary Examples of exterior

Historical Examples of exterior

  • Hawarden is called a Castle, but it has not, either in its exterior or interior, the aspect of a Castle.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • The exterior is not remarkable, but the beauty of the internal ornament is most striking.

  • This change, if it deteriorated his mind, improved his exterior.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • It was a large house; but low and straggling; and unpretending in its exterior.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • The Tuttle person under an exterior geniality was rather abrupt.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for exterior



a part, surface, or region that is on the outside
the observable outward behaviour or appearance of a person
a film or scene shot outside a studio


of, situated on, or suitable for the outsideexterior cleaning
coming or acting from without; externalexterior complications
of or involving foreign nations
Derived Formsexteriorly, adverb

Word Origin for exterior

C16: from Latin, comparative of exterus on the outside, from ex out of
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 exterior

1520s, from Latin exterior, comparative of exterus "on the outside, outward, outer, of another country, foreign," itself a comparative of ex "out of" (see ex-). As a noun from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper