Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Not forming an essential or inherent part of a thing; extraneous.
  • adj. Originating from the outside; external.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. external, separable from the thing itself, inessential
  • adj. not belonging to, outside of

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not contained in or belonging to a body; external; outward; unessential; -- opposed to intrinsic.
  • adj. Attached partly to an organ or limb and partly to some other part; -- said of certain groups of muscles. Opposed to intrinsic.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Outward; external: not of the essence or inner being or nature of a thing.
  • Determined by something else than the subject; extraneous; foreign.
  • In anatomy, originating outside the anatomical limits of a limb, these limits including the pectoral and pelvic arches: applied to certain muscles.
  • In Scots law, not relevant to the point referred: applied to facts and circumstances sworn to by a party on a reference to his oath, which cannot be competently taken as part of the evidence.
  • Synonyms See exterior.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. not forming an essential part of a thing or arising or originating from the outside

Etymologies

Latin extrīnsecus, from outside : exter, outside; see exterior + -im, adv. suff. + secus, alongside; see sekw-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin extrinsecus ("from without, without, on the outside"), from *extrim, an assumed adverbial form of exter ("outer, outward") + seccus ("by, on the side") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "Changes in extrinsic fluorescence in squid axons during voltage-clamp," Science 169, 1322 – 1324 (1970).

    Roger Y. Tsien - Autobiography

  • Intrinsic rewards are more important than extrinsic (or at least short-term extrinsic rewards).

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • Numerous psychological studies have found a general trade-off between the pursuit of so-called extrinsic aspirations — such as wealth, but also fame and image — and intrinsic aspirations, such as building and maintaining strong personal relationships.

    "'Money makes people feel self-sufficient.'"

  • Numerous psychological studies have found a general trade-off between the pursuit of so-called extrinsic aspirations - such as wealth, but also fame and image - and intrinsic aspirations, such as building and maintaining strong personal relationships.

    A root of many kinds of evil

  • In such a case, one is forced to explain the difference between different types of content involving states in terms extrinsic to the nature of their contents; the state-view is one way of explaining this distinction, by appeal to the capacities required of a subject if she is to undergo such states.

    Nonconceptual Mental Content

  • If that is the case, then the difference between the propositional attitudes and perception should be elucidated in terms extrinsic to the type of content involved in these states.

    Nonconceptual Mental Content

  • The first is whether so-called extrinsic value is really a type of value at all.

    Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Value

  • Also referred to as extrinsic value, time value decays over time.

    Intrinsic Value and Time Value

  • To these signs of authenticity, called extrinsic because they are based on testimony foreign to the author's own work, may be added certain intrinsic signs based on an examination of the work itself.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 4: Clandestinity-Diocesan Chancery

  • These special reasons, which authorise the charging of interest, are called extrinsic titles.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 8: Infamy-Lapparent

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