extraneous

Extraneous means coming from the outside, like the extraneous noise you hear when you're in a theater and a train passes by. Extraneous can also mean not relevant or essential, like all the extraneous information in your long-winded science report.

In Latin, extra means outside, as in extraordinary "outside the ordinary," or extraterrestrial 'coming from outside earth.' (Bonus points––ding! ding!––if you knew that terra is Latin for "earth.") The meaning of extraneous also extends to more abstract things that come from the outside: extraneous details are ones that don't matter.

Definitions of extraneous
  1. adjective
    not belonging to that in which it is contained; introduced from an outside source
    “water free of extraneous matter”
    synonyms: foreign
    adulterant, adulterating
    making impure or corrupt by adding extraneous materials
  2. adjective
    coming from the outside
    extraneous light in the camera spoiled the photograph”
    “relying upon an extraneous income”
    synonyms: external, outside
    extrinsic
    not forming an essential part of a thing or arising or originating from the outside
  3. adjective
    not pertinent to the matter under consideration
    “an issue extraneous to the debate”
    synonyms: immaterial, impertinent, orthogonal
    irrelevant
    having no bearing on or connection with the subject at issue
  4. adjective
    not essential
    “the ballet struck me as extraneous and somewhat out of keeping with the rest of the play”
    Synonyms:
    extrinsic
    not forming an essential part of a thing or arising or originating from the outside
Word Family
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