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[ek-struh-tuh-res-tree-uh l] /ˌɛk strə təˈrɛs tri əl/
outside, or originating outside, the limits of the earth.
an extraterrestrial being:
a science fiction novel about extraterrestrials conquering the earth.
Origin of extraterrestrial
1865-70; extra- + terrestrial
Related forms
extraterrestrially, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for extraterrestrial
  • To better recognize extraterrestrial life should they come upon it, scientists are working to create simple life forms in a lab.
  • For those who hanker after extraterrestrial life that is a pity.
  • As scientists continue their search for extraterrestrial water, it's good to be reminded why they're actually looking for it.
  • Humans have searched for extraterrestrial life for more than a century.
  • The underlying method is to try and make contact with an extraterrestrial civilization using signal-processing.
  • It would also be the first known extraterrestrial impact to affect modern humans.
  • Space enthusiasts can now get an up-close look at the latest extraterrestrial explorer.
  • Some scientists have argued that the bacteria-shaped lumps are extraterrestrial bacteria.
  • The incorporation of many heavy isotopes and the presence of rare polyols is a signature of extraterrestrial materials.
  • Each of these cosmic messengers might herald extraterrestrial life.
British Dictionary definitions for extraterrestrial


occurring or existing beyond the earth's atmosphere
(in science fiction) a being from beyond the earth's atmosphere
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 extraterrestrial

also extra-terrestrial, 1812, from extra- + terrestrial. As a noun from 1956.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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extraterrestrial in Science
Originating, located, or occurring outside the Earth or its atmosphere.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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extraterrestrial in Culture
extraterrestrial [(ek-struh-tuh-res-tree-uhl)]

A descriptive term for things outside the Earth, such as possible civilizations outside the solar system, or objects, such as meteorites, that actually reach the Earth.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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