AskDefine | Define intrinsic

Dictionary Definition

intrinsic adj
1 belonging to a thing by its very nature; "form was treated as something intrinsic, as the very essence of the thing"- John Dewey [syn: intrinsical] [ant: extrinsic]
2 situated within or belonging solely to the organ or body part on which it acts; "intrinsic muscles"

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. innate, inherent, inseparable from the thing itself, essential




Extensive Definition

Intrinsic describes a characteristic or property of some thing or action which is essential and specific to that thing or action, and which is wholly independent of any other object, action or consequence. A characteristic which is not essential or inherent is extrinsic.
For example in biology, intrinsic effects originate from "inside" an organism or cell, such as an autoimmune disease or intrinsic immunity.
More specific uses of the concepts can be found:
intrinsic in German: Extrinsisch
intrinsic in French: Inné
intrinsic in Japanese: 生得的
intrinsic in Urdu: خلقی

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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