[ ik-stur-nl-ahyz ]
See synonyms for externalize on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object),ex·ter·nal·ized, ex·ter·nal·iz·ing.
  1. to make external; embody in an outward form.

  2. to regard as consisting of externals.

  1. to regard or treat as being caused by externals; attribute to external causes: to externalize one's difficulties.

  2. to direct (the personality) outward in social relationships.

Origin of externalize

First recorded in 1850–55; external + -ize
  • Also especially British, ex·ter·nal·ise .

Other words from externalize

  • non·ex·ter·nal·ized, adjective
  • sem·i·ex·ter·nal·ized, adjective

Words Nearby externalize

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use externalize in a sentence

  • You cannot perform or externalize your vanity as overtly as Bieber did without again emphasizing to the world you are a jerk.

  • A change of will can always manifest itself in action but it is very difficult to externalize convincingly a mere change of heart.

    Play-Making | William Archer
  • Then live these in your mind, making no room for unclean thought, and you will externalize them in your body.

    Thoughts I Met on the Highway | Ralph Waldo Trine
  • Gora Dwight had told him that he must learn to "externalize his emotions," and he felt that here was the supreme opportunity.

    Black Oxen | Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
  • We encounter language as we continuously externalize our biological and cultural identities in the act of living as human beings.

  • Ideas express the implicit will of the human being to externalize them (what Marcuse called "the imperative quality" of thought).

British Dictionary definitions for externalize


exteriorize (ɪkˈstɪərɪəˌraɪz), externalise or exteriorise

/ (ɪkˈstɜːnəˌlaɪz) /

  1. to make external; give outward shape to

  2. psychol to attribute (one's own feelings) to one's surroundings

Derived forms of externalize

  • externalization, exteriorization, externalisation or exteriorisation, noun

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