[ ik-strin-sik, -zik ]
See synonyms for extrinsic on Thesaurus.com
  1. not essential or inherent; not a basic part or quality; extraneous: facts that are extrinsic to the matter under discussion.

  2. being outside a thing; outward or external; operating or coming from without: extrinsic influences.

  1. Anatomy. (of certain muscles, nerves, etc.) originating outside the anatomical limits of a part.

Origin of extrinsic

First recorded in 1535–45; from Late Latin extrinsecus “outward,” adjective use of Latin extrinsecus (adverb) “on the outward side,” equivalent to extrim- (ext(e)r “outer” (see exterior) + -im adverb suffix) + secus “beside” (derivative of sequī “to follow”)
  • Also Archaic, ex·trin·si·cal .

Opposites for extrinsic

Other words from extrinsic

  • ex·trin·si·cal·ly, adverb
  • non·ex·trin·sic, adjective
  • non·ex·trin·si·cal, adjective
  • non·ex·trin·si·cal·ly, adverb
  • un·ex·trin·sic, adjective

Words that may be confused with extrinsic

Words Nearby extrinsic

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use extrinsic in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for extrinsic


/ (ɛkˈstrɪnsɪk) /

  1. not contained or included within; extraneous

  2. originating or acting from outside; external

Origin of 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

Derived forms of extrinsic

  • extrinsically, adverb

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