• synonyms


[ek-sturn; for 3 also ik-sturn]
  1. a person connected with an institution but not residing in it, as a doctor or medical student at a hospital.
  2. a nun of a strictly enclosed order, as the Carmelites, who resides inside the convent but outside its enclosure and who chiefly goes on outside errands.
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  1. Archaic. external; outer.
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Origin of extern

1525–35; < Latin externus, derivative of exter, exterus. See exterior
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for extern

Historical Examples

  • That a professed nun should be expected to feel personal and unspiritual interest in an extern!

    A Forgotten Hero

    Emily Sarah Holt

  • Patrick blessed them, and said that the children they would bear to extern tribes would be illustrious.

  • Alis badio-fuscis; strigis duabus obliquis, extern abbreviat, albis.

  • A further proof perhaps of Puck's rural and extern character is the following rather trifling circumstance.

    The Fairy Mythology

    Thomas Keightley

  • Carin extern vald carinat cum sulco laterali ad utrumque latus.

British Dictionary definitions for extern



  1. US a person, such as a physician at a hospital, who has an official connection with an institution but does not reside in it
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Word Origin

C16: from Latin externus external
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 extern


"outsider," c.1600, from French externe, from Latin externus (see external).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

extern in Medicine


  1. An advanced student or recent graduate who assists in the medical or surgical care of hospital patients and may reside outside the institution.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.