AskDefine | Define extrinsic

Dictionary Definition

extrinsic adj : not forming an essential part of a thing or arising or originating from the outside; "extrinsic evidence"; "an extrinsic feature of the new building"; "that style is something extrinsic to the subject"; "looking for extrinsic aid" [ant: intrinsic]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. external, separable from the thing itself, inessential
  2. not belonging to, outside of


Derived terms


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

Extensive Definition

Intrinsic describes a characteristic or property of some thing or action which is essential and specific to that thing or action, and which is wholly independent of any other object, action or consequence. A characteristic which is not essential or inherent is extrinsic.
For example in biology, intrinsic effects originate from "inside" an organism or cell, such as an autoimmune disease or intrinsic immunity.
More specific uses of the concepts can be found:
extrinsic in German: Extrinsisch
extrinsic in French: Inné
extrinsic in Japanese: 生得的
extrinsic in Urdu: خلقی

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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