[ in-trin-sik, -zik ]
/ ɪnˈtrɪn sɪk, -zɪk /


belonging to a thing by its very nature: the intrinsic value of a gold ring.
Anatomy. (of certain muscles, nerves, etc.) belonging to or lying within a given part.
Sometimes in·trin·si·cal.

Origin of intrinsic

1480–90; < Medieval Latin intrinsecus inward (adj.), Latin (adv.), equivalent to intrin- (int(e)r-, as in interior + -im adv. suffix) + secus beside, derivative of sequī to follow

Related forms

in·trin·si·cal·ly, adverb

Can be confused

extraneous external extrinsic internal intrinsic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for intrinsic

British Dictionary definitions for intrinsic



/ (ɪnˈtrɪnsɪk) /


of or relating to the essential nature of a thing; inherent
anatomy situated within or peculiar to a partintrinsic muscles

Derived Forms

intrinsically, adverb

Word Origin for intrinsic

C15: from Late Latin intrinsecus from Latin, inwardly, from intrā within + 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

Medicine definitions for intrinsic


[ ĭn-trĭnzĭk ]


Of or relating to the essential nature of a thing.
Situated within or belonging solely to the organ or body part on which it acts. Used of certain nerves and muscles.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.