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

  • n. The condition or quality of being external or externalized.
  • n. Something that is external.
  • n. An incidental condition that may affect a course of action: "Our economic system treats environmental degradation as an externality—a cost that does not enter into the conventional arithmetic that determines how we use our resources” ( Barry Commoner).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of being external or externalized.
  • n. A thing that is external relative to something else.
  • n. An impact, positive or negative, on any party not involved in a given economic transaction or act.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. State of being external; exteriority.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being external.
  • n. Superficiality.
  • n. An external; an outward rite, ceremony, or form.
  • n. Undue regard to externals; the sacrifice of substance to form.

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

  • n. the quality or state of being outside or directed toward or relating to the outside or exterior


Sorry, no etymologies found.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • In an efficient free market, any factor not encapsulated in the price mechanism is an "externality". e.g. the pollution produced by a firm (negative externality), the pollination of a neighbouring orchard by bees (positive externality).

    September 24, 2007

  • basically, an eternality is any third party the corporation can get to pick up the liabilities accrued by the corporation --- generally the public. In this way, the corporation gets the profits but the public gets the losses.

    January 2, 2007