• (GA) IPA: /ɛksˈtɝnəl/, /ɪksˈtɝnəl/, /əksˈtɝnəl/
  • (RP) IPA: /ɪksˈtɜːnəl/, /əksˈtɜːnəl/, /ɛksˈtɜːnəl/


  1. Outside of something; on the exterior.
    This building has some external pipework.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 5”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      Of all external things, […] / She [Fancy] forms imaginations, aery shapes.
    • 1591, William Shakespeare, “The First Part of Henry the Sixt”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene v]:
      Her virtues graced with external gifts.
  2. Not intrinsic nor essential; accidental; accompanying; superficial.
    • The external circumstances are greatly different.
  3. Foreign; relating to or connected with foreign nations.
    external trade or commerce; the external relations of a state or kingdom
  4. (anatomy) Away from the mesial plane of the body; lateral.
  5. Provided by something or someone outside of the entity (object, group, company etc.) considered.
Synonyms Antonyms Translations Noun

external (plural externals)

  1. (mostly, in the plural) The exterior; outward features or appearances.
  2. (programming) In the C programming language, a variable that is defined in the source code but whose value comes from some external source.

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