follow Dictionary.com

Hone in vs. home in? What's the difference?

external

[ik-stur-nl] /ɪkˈstɜr nl/
adjective
1.
of or relating to the outside or outer part; outer:
an external surface.
2.
Medicine/Medical. to be applied to the outside of a body, as a remedy:
for external use only.
3.
situated or being outside something; acting or coming from without:
external influences.
4.
pertaining to the outward or visible appearance or show:
external acts of worship.
5.
pertaining to or concerned with foreign countries:
external affairs; external commerce.
6.
Zoology, Anatomy. on the side farthest from the body, the median line, or the center of a radially symmetrical form.
7.
Metaphysics. of or relating to the world of things, considered as independent of the perceiving mind:
external world.
noun
8.
the outside; outer surface; exterior.
9.
something that is external.
10.
externals, external features, circumstances, etc.; outward appearance; superficialities.
Origin of external
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English; see extern, -al1
Related forms
externally, adverb
nonexternal, adjective, noun
nonexternally, adverb
quasi-external, adjective
quasi-externally, adverb
semiexternal, adjective
semiexternally, adverb
subexternal, adjective
subexternally, adverb
Can be confused
Synonyms
1. outermost, exterior.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for external
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The interior of Trinity College corresponds with its external elegance.

    Manners, Vol 2 of 3 Frances Brooke
  • There is no more reason to believe in oneself than in the external world.

  • Yet the love of external nature was very different in the two men.

  • If it is an imperfect word, no external circumstance can heighten its value as poetry.

    The Lyric John Drinkwater
  • Having no external resources, they turned their thoughts inward and led forth their own faculties.

    A Man's Value to Society Newell Dwight Hillis
British Dictionary definitions for external

external

/ɪkˈstɜːnəl/
adjective
1.
of, situated on, or suitable for the outside; outer
2.
coming or acting from without: external evidence from an independent source
3.
of or involving foreign nations; foreign
4.
of, relating to, or designating a medicine that is applied to the outside of the body
5.
(anatomy) situated on or near the outside of the body: the external ear
6.
(education) denoting assessment by examiners who are not employed at the candidate's place of study
7.
(Austral & NZ) (of a student) studying a university subject extramurally
8.
(philosophy) (of objects, etc) taken to exist independently of a perceiving mind
noun
9.
(often pl) an external circumstance or aspect, esp one that is superficial or inessential
10.
(Austral & NZ) a student taking an extramural subject
Derived Forms
externally, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin externus outward, from exterus on the outside, from ex out of
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for external
adj.

early 15c. (implied in externalle), from Middle French externe or directly from Latin externus "outside, outward" (from exterus; see exterior) + -al (1). This version won out over exterial. Related: Externally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
external in Medicine

external ex·ter·nal (ĭk-stûr'nəl)
adj.
Abbr. ext.
Relating to, connected with, or existing on the outside; exterior.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for external

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for external

15
17
Scrabble Words With Friends