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[ih-tur-nl] /ɪˈtɜr nl/
without beginning or end; lasting forever; always existing (opposed to temporal):
eternal life.
perpetual; ceaseless; endless:
eternal quarreling; eternal chatter.
enduring; immutable:
eternal principles.
Metaphysics. existing outside all relations of time; not subject to change.
something that is eternal.
the Eternal, God.
Origin of eternal
1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin aeternālis, equivalent to aetern(us) (see eterne) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
[ee-tur-nal-i-tee] /ˌi tɜrˈnæl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
eternalness, noun
eternally, adverb
noneternal, adjective
noneternally, adverb
noneternalness, noun
preeternal, adjective
quasi-eternal, adjective
quasi-eternally, adverb
1. permanent, unending. Eternal, endless, everlasting, perpetual imply lasting or going on without ceasing. That which is eternal is, by its nature, without beginning or end: God, the eternal Father. That which is endless never stops but goes on continuously as if in a circle: an endless succession of years. That which is everlasting will endure through all future time: a promise of everlasting life. Perpeptual implies continuous renewal as far into the future as one can foresee: perpetual strife between nations. 3. timeless, immortal, deathless, undying, imperishable, indestructible.
1. transitory. 3. mutable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for eternal
  • Character, revealed through action: the two eternal elements of narrative.
  • Design is moving centre-stage in the eternal human quest to make beauty out of necessity.
  • But the seaside abides, representing the eternal escape.
  • The eternal golden braid emerges as a strange loop.
  • We invite you to respell the name of your favorite cable network to win the eternal admiration of your fellow readers.
  • The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
  • Some of these are the eternal dilemmas that central bankers are doomed to relive time and again.
  • If that's the stick then the carrot is the reward of eternal bliss in exchange for absolute obedience.
  • Loyalists' devotion to their machine is almost eternal in computer years.
  • It's interesting to me what gets blamed in the eternal outcry about how students don't study enough.
British Dictionary definitions for eternal


  1. without beginning or end; lasting for ever: eternal life
  2. (as noun): the eternal
(often capital) denoting or relating to that which is without beginning and end, regarded as an attribute of God
unchanged by time, esp being true or valid for all time; immutable: eternal truths
seemingly unceasing; occurring again and again: eternal bickering
Derived Forms
eternality, eternalness, noun
eternally, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin aeternālis, from Latin aeternus; related to Latin aevum age
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
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Word Origin and History for eternal

late 14c., from Old French eternel or directly from Late Latin aeternalis, from Latin aeternus "of an age, lasting, enduring, permanent, endless," contraction of aeviternus "of great age," from aevum "age" (see eon). Related: Eternally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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