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See more synonyms for externality on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural ex·ter·nal·i·ties.
  1. the state or quality of being external.
  2. something external; an outward feature.
  3. excessive attention to externals.
  4. an external effect, often unforeseen or unintended, accompanying a process or activity: to eliminate externalities such as air pollution through government regulation.
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Origin of externality

First recorded in 1665–75; external + -ity
Related formsnon·ex·ter·nal·i·ty, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for externality

Historical Examples

  • The difficulty of this view is just this externality of the relation.

    The Problem of Truth

    H. Wildon Carr

  • But if the externality is only figurative, the existence also is figurative.

  • It is this externality of relation that makes hate and fear so poignant and so bitter.

    Beauty and the Beast

    Stewart A. McDowall

  • In the Principles of Human Knowledge, externality in its ultimate sense as independence of all mind is considered.

  • In these works he attacked the existing theories of externality which to the unphilosophical mind is proved by visual evidence.

British Dictionary definitions for externality


noun plural -ties
  1. the state or condition of being external
  2. something external
  3. philosophy the quality of existing independently of a perceiving mind
  4. an economic effect that results from an economic choice but is not reflected in market prices
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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 externality


1713, from external + -ity.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper