verb (used with object), ex·ter·nal·ized, ex·ter·nal·iz·ing.

to make external; embody in an outward form.
to regard as consisting of externals.
to regard or treat as being caused by externals; attribute to external causes: to externalize one's difficulties.
to direct (the personality) outward in social relationships.

Also especially British, ex·ter·nal·ise.

Origin of externalize

First recorded in 1850–55; external + -ize
Related formsnon·ex·ter·nal·ized, adjectivesem·i·ex·ter·nal·ized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for externalize

Contemporary Examples of externalize

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

    The Daily Beast logo
    Justin Bieber's Abs Cannot Save Him

    Tim Teeman

    September 10, 2014

Historical Examples of externalize

  • You express yourself in your ideas and thoughts, which you try to externalize materially.

    Carmen Ariza

    Charles Francis Stocking

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

  • 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

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


    William Archer

  • Then live these in your mind, making no room for unclean thought, and you will externalize them in your body.

British Dictionary definitions for externalize


exteriorize (ɪkˈstɪərɪəˌraɪz), externalise or exteriorise

verb (tr)

to make external; give outward shape to
psychol to attribute (one's own feelings) to one's surroundings
Derived Formsexternalization, 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

Word Origin and History for externalize

1852, from external + -ize. Related: Externalized; externalizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper