What Does Extrinsic Mean?


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Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
Extrinsic is the opposite of the more common word intrinsic, which means inherent, essential or belonging naturally. If you say, for instance, "The British are intrinsically a conservative nation," you mean that this is their essential quality: a part of them.

The word extrinsic, which is much less used, is most often applied to someone's motivation for doing something. For instance, if I am trying to learn a new subject only because I am afraid my parents will be angry if I don't, my motivation is extrinsic because it is not part of me but comes from outside. Intrinsic motivation, by contrast, would be because I love the subject or like learning in general.
Vikash Swaroop Profile
Vikash Swaroop answered
The term extrinsic is an adjective which is used to mean something that does not either an essential or an inherent component of something. It is used as another word for the term extraneous. It could also be used to mean 'originating from the outside'. In this sense of the term it is used as a synonym for the term external.

The term extrinsic is most often contrasted to the term intrinsic. In this sense of the term, intrinsic would mean of or pertaining to the fundamental nature of a given thing; that is, inherent.

The term extrinsic has its roots in the Latin word extrinsecus, meaning from outside. It is a broken up into: Exter, meaning outside, plus -I'm, which is an adverb, a suffix, plus secus, meaning alongside. The adverb form of the word extrinsic is extrinsically.

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