[ ik-strin-sik, -zik ]
/ ɪkˈstrɪn sɪk, -zɪk /


not essential or inherent; not a basic part or quality; extraneous: facts that are extrinsic to the matter under discussion.
being outside a thing; outward or external; operating or coming from without: extrinsic influences.
Anatomy. (of certain muscles, nerves, etc.) originating outside the anatomical limits of a part.

Nearby words

  1. extremophile,
  2. extremum,
  3. extricable,
  4. extricate,
  5. extrication,
  6. extrinsic allergic alveolitis,
  7. extrinsic eye muscle,
  8. extrinsic factor,
  9. extrinsic incubation period,
  10. extrinsic sphincter

Also Archaic, ex·trin·si·cal.

Origin of extrinsic

1535–45; < Late Latin extrinsecus outward, adj. use of Latin extrinsecus (adv.) on the outward side, equivalent to extrim- (ext(e)r outer (see exterior) + -im adv. suffix) + secus beside (derivative of sequī to follow)

Related forms
Can be confusedextraneous external extrinsic internal intrinsic

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

Examples from the Web for extrinsic

British Dictionary definitions for extrinsic


/ (ɛkˈstrɪnsɪk) /


not contained or included within; extraneous
originating or acting from outside; external
Derived Formsextrinsically, adverb

Word Origin for extrinsic

C16: from Late Latin extrinsecus (adj) outward, from Latin (adv) from without, on the outward side, from exter outward + secus alongside, related to sequī to follow

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 extrinsic



1540s, from French extrinsèque, from Late Latin extrinsecus (adj.), from Latin extrinsecus (adv.) "outwardly," from exter "outside" + in, suffix of locality, + secus "beside, alongside," originally "following" (related to sequi "to follow;" see sequel).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for extrinsic


[ ĭk-strĭnsĭk, -zĭk ]


Of or relating to an organ or structure, especially a muscle, originating outside of the part where it is found or upon which it acts; adventitious.
Related formsex•trinsi•cal•ly adv.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.