Extrinsic means not connected to the essential nature of something. New cleats are extrinsic to making the soccer team. How you play is what gets you on the team, whether your cleats are old or new.

If the ex in extrinsic makes you think of external or extra you’re on the right track––all these ex words are talking about something that is outside, or above and beyond. You often hear extrinsic paired with its opposite, intrinsic, which means part of something or someone's essential nature. If being sweet-tempered is intrinsic to your personality, you might not even know how to get mad.

Definitions of extrinsic
  1. adjective
    not forming an essential part of a thing or arising or originating from the outside
    extrinsic evidence”
    “an extrinsic feature of the new building”
    “that style is something extrinsic to the subject”
    “looking for extrinsic aid”
    inessential, unessential
    not basic or fundamental
    associated by chance and not an integral part
    added or derived from something outside; not inherent
    alien, foreign
    not contained in or deriving from the essential nature of something
    external, extraneous, outside
    coming from the outside
    not essential
    see moresee less
    intrinsic, intrinsical
    belonging to a thing by its very nature
    inalienable, unalienable
    incapable of being repudiated or transferred to another
    basic and fundamental
    built-in, constitutional, inbuilt, inherent, integral
    existing as an essential constituent or characteristic
    inner, internal, intimate
    innermost or essential
    show more antonyms...
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week