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[in-trin-sik, -zik] /ɪnˈtrɪn sɪk, -zɪk/
belonging to a thing by its very nature:
the intrinsic value of a gold ring.
Anatomy. (of certain muscles, nerves, etc.) belonging to or lying within a given part.
Also, intrinsical.
Origin of intrinsic
1480-90; < Medieval Latin intrinsecus inward (adj.), Latin (adv.), equivalent to intrin- (int(e)r-, as in interior + -im adv. suffix) + secus beside, derivative of sequī to follow
Related forms
intrinsically, adverb
Can be confused
1. native, innate, natural, true, real. See essential.
1. extrinsic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for intrinsic
  • Point out that tigers have intrinsic value as well as financial value as a draw for tourists.
  • College success rates mirror intrinsic gaps in society.
  • Our third drive-our intrinsic motivation-can be even more powerful.
  • So even though this kind of science and thinking has no intrinsic economic value, it's hugely motivating and quite cheap.
  • The real reason that literary prizes are so prized, however, is that prize-giving is intrinsic to the purposes of poetry.
  • First, all numerical measurements have intrinsic variance or uncertainty.
  • As a species, such candidates do have certain intrinsic disadvantages.
  • By whatever name, it is a notion of intrinsic worth.
  • But people were also concerned, and rightly so, about issues of intrinsic safety.
  • One theory for aging is that our stem cells eventually wear out, thanks to intrinsic changes within the cells.
British Dictionary definitions for intrinsic


of or relating to the essential nature of a thing; inherent
(anatomy) situated within or peculiar to a part: intrinsic muscles
Derived Forms
intrinsically, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Late Latin intrinsecus from Latin, inwardly, from intrā within + secus alongside; related to sequī to follow
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 intrinsic

late 15c., "interior, inward, internal," from Middle French intrinsèque "inner" (13c.), from Medieval Latin intrinsecus "interior, internal," from Latin intrinsecus (adv.) "inwardly, on the inside," from intra "within" (see intra-) + secus "alongside," originally "following" (related to sequi "to follow;" see sequel). Meaning "belonging to the nature of a thing" is from 1640s. Related: Intrinsicly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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intrinsic in Medicine

intrinsic in·trin·sic (ĭn-trĭn'zĭk, -sĭk)

  1. Of or relating to the essential nature of a thing.

  2. Situated within or belonging solely to the organ or body part on which it acts. Used of certain nerves and muscles.

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