Meaning of external in English:


Pronunciation /ɪkˈstəːn(ə)l/ /ɛkˈstəːn(ə)l/

See synonyms for external

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  • 1Belonging to or forming the outer surface or structure of something.

    ‘the external walls’
    • ‘This arrangement of the ommatidia gives a smooth appearance to the external surface of the eye.’
    • ‘The antigen was more abundant in the zone adjacent to the plasma membrane than in the zone closer to the external wall surface.’
    • ‘Water was collected from the external surface of the wall when surrounded by a saturated atmosphere while P was developing.’
    • ‘Heavy winds exert a load on the external walls of the structure, thus affecting the construction technology.’
    • ‘It is clear on the evidence that this settlement related only to the external appearance of the walls.’
    • ‘The framing materials should take second place to the insulation performance of the glass, as these glazed panels are in structural terms - external walls.’
    • ‘Only the external walls remain, structurally stabilized by a steel plate that runs around the rim of the brick shell.’
    • ‘The wall and roof glazing is suspended under the external steel structure by means of point fixings.’
    • ‘In short, the external structure of the building is practically complete, the rest of the work will focus on the interior fixtures and fittings, tiling the pool tank and installing the plant equipment.’
    • ‘Reversing the traditional discipline of the external surfaces, he paints internal dimensionality coming from within.’
    • ‘Not at all, as long as the roots are embedded in healthy tissues that bathe the external surface and offer it nutrition, it is very much a healthy tooth.’
    • ‘In the next few weeks the roof, outer cladding and external works will be added.’
    • ‘In this, our first living anatomy class, we try to find on each other the external signs of the structures we've seen under the cadaver's skin.’
    • ‘The dark metal is just visible through a translucent external wall made of gauzy stretched fabric.’
    • ‘Strong themes of light and transparency are evident throughout the structure, including extensive use of silver on the external walls.’
    • ‘The center pin is surrounded with a ring of shield pins attached to the external surface of the bottom wall of the module housing.’
    • ‘This is not quite as grand and expensive as it sounds, for the cladding is a thin layer of copper over building felt, giving at close range a delicately textured dimpled external surface.’
    • ‘Finally, the blade of the scapula in procolophonoids is not long, narrow and rectangular as in this specimen, and does not bear a longitudinal ridge on its external surface.’
    • ‘The thorax shows the external surface of the anterior half of the axial rings and of the inner portions of the pleurae.’
    • ‘The external diagonal steel structure uses triangular forms to be inherently strong, permitting a flexible column-free interior space.’
    outer, outside, outermost, outward, exterior, surface, superficial
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    1. 1.1Relating to or denoting a medicine or similar substance for use on the outside of the body.
      ‘for external application only’
      • ‘The herbal medicines for external application are generally erosive and poisonous, and their dosages should be strictly handled.’
      • ‘Most of these patients also had adjuvant therapy such as external beam radiation, brachytherapy, or chemotherapy.’
      • ‘Previous studies have shown that the provision of external defibrillators and basic life support training to ambulance crews can improve survival from out of hospital cardiac arrest.’
      • ‘The majority of patients do not have limited disease and will not be cured with external beam radiation therapy.’
      • ‘Of the participating patients, 107 men were treated with external beam radiation therapy combined with seed implants.’
      • ‘Typically, external beam radiation therapy treatments are given every day, Monday through Friday, for four to eight weeks.’
      • ‘A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed that surgery and external beam radiation therapy have their downsides.’
      • ‘If your child is having only external radiation therapy, there's no need to worry.’
      • ‘They are also particularly amenable to the internal and external application of herbal medicated oils.’
      • ‘In most ankle sprains, treatment includes external support such as the application of an air splint, ice application and elevation above the heart.’
      • ‘In addition, there is a fundamental illogic to the use of external application of cold to lower temperature in a patient with true fever.’
      • ‘In the anaesthetized animal, bile flow increased nonlinearly with the rise in Tre on application of controlled external heat.’
      • ‘Valgus bracing is designed to reduce the load on the medial compartment through the application of an external valgus moment about the knee joint.’
      • ‘It was found that the application of external iNO inhibits endogenous NO synthesis in the pulmonary capillaries.’
      • ‘This permits them to be used in therapy as astringents for external application and as anti-diarrhoeics internally.’
  • 2Coming or derived from a source outside the subject affected.

    ‘for many the Church was a symbol of external authority’
    • ‘the child learns to form conceptions of the external world’
    • ‘Those who report, not to proper authorities, but to external sources abuse their positions of trust, he said.’
    • ‘We hypothesized that the source and term of external debt affects farm production decisions and, consequently, efficiency.’
    • ‘It is likely that such fluids were derived from crystallizing melts and no external source is necessarily required.’
    • ‘How can the university be subject to market tests, be continuously dependent on external sources for funds, and be independent?’
    • ‘And we are to accept as a fact that not everybody can deal with the source external market.’
    • ‘This will help us bid for funds from external sources to help cover some of these costs,’ he added.’
    • ‘Lawyers for the five had argued that the legal defence of necessity should treat serious harm from an external source equally with pain, both physiological and mental, suffered by a sick person.’
    • ‘With the exception of South Africa, expenditures on HIV / AIDS in these countries are financed mainly by external sources.’
    • ‘As his case studies show, Damodaran takes full cognisance of that challenge, and also the other challenge, emanating from external trade sources.’
    • ‘I think they've got support from external sources.’
    • ‘The project's funding would thus come entirely from external sources and without the need for any subsidy, loan or equity from the Jakarta authorities.’
    • ‘In a generator, the source of energy is external.’
    • ‘This answers some of the structural issues associated with the organisation in terms of an internal / external management structure’
    • ‘I'm a ‘departmental’ PhD student, not part of a formal programme, so supervisors are really the only ones that provide external structure to my work.’
    • ‘In contrast, the antiglobalization agenda largely is external to the formal political structures in Canada.’
    • ‘The company blamed this largely due to external variables and a system structure.’
    • ‘What often stands out is relative disarticulation between the workplace and external union structures, with the left stronger in the latter than the former.’
    • ‘The most common cause of hip labral tears is the application of an external force on the hyperextended, externally rotated hip.’
    • ‘Yet these apparent improvements in ethical standards represent an unbalanced concentration on an external morality for medicine.’
    • ‘But probably the most important contemporary trend is the development of a culture where people are encouraged to see themselves as the victims of harmful external agents or culpable agencies.’
    1. 2.1Coming from or relating to a country or institution other than the main subject.
      ‘a department of external affairs’
      • ‘The main objective is to stop the farmers' dependence on external agencies and make them contribute towards protection of natural resources.’
      • ‘If the Treaty of Waitangi were ruled to come under the external affairs power, for example, it would be subject to interpretation in Canberra.’
      • ‘This, he believes, has fuelled a certain willingness on their part to become Christians, and to subordinate themselves to external agents and institutions.’
      • ‘In addition to the expectations of domestic constituencies, Lula must confront the antagonistic pressures of external interests and institutions.’
      • ‘One of the most striking contrasts between the 196Os and the 1980s was a growing familiarity with external services and institutions.’
      • ‘Thus, the pro-construction clans made use of the French legal system and external capitalist institutions to support their claims and efforts.’
      • ‘Mr Simfukwe said the bank was also trying to reopen credit lines with some external financial institutions to increase its capacity to contain the demands for finance.’
      • ‘The euro offers a basis for a similar performance in the international monetary system, but only if the institutions for external monetary policy are adequately reformed.’
      • ‘The formal education system had familiarized them with external institutions and norms, including the need for cash.’
      • ‘Internal management within most firms was weak, and external institutions within the town were strong.’
      • ‘In one way or another, these external institutions are powerful in producing conformity.’
      • ‘According to the report, the ministries of external affairs, finance, labour and commerce have already agreed on the draft agreement on the protocol to be signed with the US.’
      • ‘The appropriate envelope then went to an external medical officer.’
      • ‘Proposals for projects funded by overseas bodies may be written by external consultants and presented to local groups for implementation.’
      • ‘The external funding bodies had no input into protocol development, data collection, or analyses or interpretation.’
      • ‘Night patrols, especially during the breeding season, are called for but subject to Council sourcing external funding.’
      • ‘We think that they may have been influenced by external sources, from outside Britain.’
      • ‘The source of water could be from the planned Syrian / Jordanian Unity Dam on the Yarmuk or other external sources such as the Litani and Awali Rivers in Lebanon.’
      • ‘To lock one's legal system into principles deriving from an external legislature is the opposite of a nationalist - and also the opposite of a democratic - option.’
      outside, non-resident, visiting, from elsewhere, extramural, independent, consultant, consulting, advisory
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    2. 2.2For or concerning students registered with and taking the examinations of a university but not resident there.
      ‘external degrees’
      • ‘In parallel with this, he had also entered the lists as an external student of London University and obtained their pass-level B.D. degree in 1912.’
      • ‘Britton graduated from Hull in 1950, although at that time Hull could not award its own degrees and so Britton graduated with an external University of London degree.’
      • ‘She was also continuing her own personal development, studying finance at Ramkamheng University as an external student, finishing with an MBA with a finance major.’
      • ‘A convinced Christian, with a longstanding interest in things Greek, he became an external student of Hull University, to study the New Testament.’
      • ‘In 1934 he was appointed a lecturer in mathematics at University College, Hull, which at that time awarded University of London external degrees.’
      • ‘In fact before this Richardson had returned to university study and obtained a B.Sc. in psychology as an external University College, London, student in 1929.’
      • ‘However by this time he did want to study mathematics further and so he registered as an external student at the Saratov Pedagogic Institute.’
      • ‘For example, a student entering University College, Southampton to read economics would in fact be reading for a University of London external degree.’
      • ‘Along with the demands of teaching and co-ordinating Charles Darwin University's new external law degree, there hasn't been much time or energy left over for blogging.’
      • ‘Universities incur additional costs to hold residential schools to teach external students.’
      • ‘Expelled from university for his radical policies, Lenin managed to complete his law degree as an external student in 1891.’
      • ‘This was the only way that the students could do their exams as all the other schools refused to take them in to sit the examinations as external students.’
      • ‘He used his time in prison to gain an external BSc degree in economics from the University of London.’
      • ‘Until then the students of these colleges had been prepared for external London degrees: under the new charter, the university awarded its own.’
      • ‘He took a correspondence course and was awarded First Class Honours from the University of London in 1926, having been an external student.’
      • ‘He was compelled to take an external London degree at the fledgling University College, Leicester.’
      • ‘Grave pleaded with the educational trust to allow Ostrowski to study at university, even suggesting that he might be allowed to be an external student.’
      outside, non-resident, visiting, from elsewhere, extramural, independent, consultant, consulting, advisory
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    3. 2.3Computing (of hardware) not contained in the main computer; peripheral.
      ‘Sure, there are the memory stick slots and USB ports, but how would you be holding the PSP and using an external hardware device to take photos?’
      • ‘Other interconnects may require concentrators or other external hardware.’
      • ‘Wireless connectivity and some features may require you to purchase additional software, services or external hardware.’
      • ‘Almost all recent models of PDAs offer some form of expansion port to connect external hardware, load other applications or increase data-storage capacity.’
      • ‘Some laptop computers have built - in microphones, while some desktop computers require an external microphone to be plugged in.’
    4. 2.4(of storage) using a disk or tape drive rather than the main memory.
      ‘Talk of changes in giant TV technology, flash hard-drive memory, and new external storage options surface this month in Asia.’
      • ‘I talked to one guy whose idea of external storage was a USB disk.’
      • ‘A single performance-limiting factor of external hard disk drives has always been their interface.’
      • ‘It will be detected as an external storage device, and automatically be assigned a drive letter.’
      • ‘With this kit you can take almost any old hard drive and convert it into an external storage device.’


  • 1The outward features of something.

    ‘the place has all the appropriate externals, such as chimneys choked with ivy’
    • ‘They appear different only in externals, just as milk is all the same though it comes from cows of different colour.’
    • ‘When we truly forget the self, there is no division between inside and outside, no division between yourself and externals.’
    • ‘Perhaps surprisingly, given his genuine good keen man externals, Wilkes also happened to be a lover of ballet and opera - he once went to Offenbach's Tales of Hoffman at Sydney Opera House - and he was a good friend of the artist Tony Fomison.’
    • ‘The other is that all those externals only work if you have a fast connection and a job that you're avoiding, neither of which applies in my case.’
    • ‘When we form an intention to achieve certain financial goals, or career objectives and we are blocked by either our own feelings of inadequacy, ineptitude, or by externals such as prejudice, the common response is frustration!’
    • ‘They are vulnerable to and opposed by older Asian, even African religious traditions that have not disappeared but have managed to adapt the externals of technology and its way of life.’
    • ‘While her circumstances were certainly sad, it is quite clear that she was doomed more as a result of her unrealistic thinking, her internal state, than because of her unhappy externals.’
    • ‘ONE SHOULD not judge people by the externals; the dress they wear or the kind of leisure activities they prefer does not make them any less Indian than others.’
    • ‘Here as elsewhere, Marcus is determined to unlearn the unwise attachments to externals that he has learned from his culture.’
    • ‘As Hall points out, Max was lucky all his life, and perhaps as a result the externals of his life are almost as uninteresting as the inner man.’
    • ‘My observation over many years is that the common Christian teachings about not being entangled with the world always focus on the externals.’
    • ‘As I read it I realize how easily it is to allow externals to influence the reason for this season and thereby influencing other people.’
    • ‘Profiling means making smart choices when you have nothing but externals to go by.’
    • ‘So, as my vision turns to externals once more, I'm feeling better and happier than I have for a long, long time.’
    • ‘‘I'd rather deal with frank externals than a sham of virtue,’ Flavia hissed.’
    • ‘Soul and soul are thus of equal worth, the difference lies in the externals.’
    • ‘The senior executive who focuses only on externals out of a desire for self-preservation should be aware that those same self-preservation instincts should be directed internally, as well.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, these externals should not detract from the fact that this book is an important contribution to Calvin studies specifically and historical theology generally.’
    • ‘Honoring the mystery may bring dishonor to the externals of a relationship and it may elicit the charge of irresponsibility, yet at a deeper level the action may be entirely responsible.’
    • ‘The designers’ work inside the building is much more impressive to me than the externals.’
    outside, outside surface, outer surface, external surface, outward appearance, outward aspect, externals, facade, front
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    1. 1.1Inessential or superficial features.
      ‘photographs can only show externals’
      • ‘I've never been fully convinced by the Wittgenstein comparison as far as grasping reality goes, since Wittgenstein, for at least large portions of his life, seemed to be pretty big on free-floating externals.’
      • ‘Each can manifest itself either as an attitude, an authentic way of relating to the world, or as a style, in which only the externals of the attitude are practised without attention to its inner dictates.’
      • ‘Don't yield to the temptation to deal with externals in order to keep the conversation going, or to impress others.’


Late Middle English from medieval Latin, from Latin exter ‘outer’.