Definition of extern in English:



  • 1North American A person working in but not living in an institution, such as a non-resident doctor or other worker in a hospital.

    • ‘In terms of skills, externs often function in a role similar to that of a nursing assistant.’
    • ‘For the student nurse in the extern role, this translates to practicing in the perioperative setting the critical-thinking, interpersonal, and technical skills learned in school.’
    • ‘I worked at the hospital with three more externs, shifting to a new section of the hospital each quarter.’
    • ‘Nurse externs work under the direct supervision of preceptors in a variety of settings.’
    • ‘Three weeks before the scheduled event, residents and externs are required to begin their search for a scientific article that answers clinical questions or raises innovative ideas.’
    • ‘The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations standards that pertain to the extern role are presented in class.’
    • ‘Collaboration between the extern or intern, clinical educator, and preceptor is extremely important if the student is to successfully achieve the goals.’
    • ‘There would also be controls on recruitment and tightening up of costs in relation to waste management, charged services and extern costs.’
    • ‘This early socialization process is important because it recognizes that the nurse extern is a team member and provides a sense of permanence.’
    • ‘Evaluations of the program from preceptors, interns, and externs demonstrate that the program has provided an excellent foundation of knowledge on which to build.’
    1. 1.1 A student participating in a temporary training programme in a workplace.
      ‘she worked as a judicial extern for two US federal judges’
      • ‘Sponsors and students should jointly determine the extern's role in his/her experience as well as the length of the externship.’
      • ‘During that time, I took a break to serve as an extern on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.’
      • ‘If you were an extern at the French Laundry, your first job would most likely be peeling carrots.’
      • ‘This university program does not create an employment relationship between the extern and the sponsor.’
      • ‘What I and the two other externs didn't know was that each kitchen recruited and ‘bid’ for a particular extern.’
      • ‘Opportunities for doing the skills lead the externs to higher levels of competency.’
      • ‘Each semester Justice Clark had three to five law students working for him as externs.’
      • ‘She worked as a judicial extern for two US federal judges as well as a trainee at the European Commission's Legal Service.’
      • ‘She has already resumed her rigorous stollen-baking schedule, a regimen into which she was indoctrinated as an overworked extern at Bouley.’
      • ‘Each year up to six students will be chosen to work as paid summer externs.’
  • 2(in a strictly enclosed order of nuns) a sister who does not live exclusively within the enclosure and goes on outside errands.

    • ‘The two other externs, whose duties often prevented them from having time for silent meditation, had also chosen to remain.’
    • ‘These three sisters are the externs at the convent of St. Teresa in Coimbra where Sister Lucia lived for 57 years.’
    • ‘In the miniature society of the cloister, numbering between ten and eleven sisters and an extern or two, her success meets some of the same responses a successful worldly artist would find.’


[with object]SE Asian
  • Banish (someone considered politically undesirable) from a region or district.

    ‘he was externed for inciting communal tension in the city’
    • ‘The chief instigators of communal riots in Kodgu, Jagdish Karanth, Pramod Muthalik, Bopayya, Devayya, Somesh and Sunil Subramani must be immediately arrested and externed.’
    • ‘Probably externed from his native Tirunelveli district, he moved to Chennai with his wife and two young sons.’
    • ‘He got bail in 2001 and lived in Surat for six months after being externed from Thane district by the court.’


Mid 16th century (as an adjective in the sense ‘external’): from French externe or Latin externus, from exter ‘outer’. The word was used by Shakespeare to mean ‘outward appearance’; current noun senses date from the early 17th century.