Definition of extraneous in English:



  • 1Irrelevant or unrelated to the subject being dealt with.

    ‘one is obliged to wade through many pages of extraneous material’
    • ‘It is unconvincing and essentially extraneous material.’
    • ‘In the present case, the admittedly extraneous and irrelevant material is of a kind which has always attracted the law's anxious scrutiny.’
    • ‘At the end of his speech Lord Hailsham dealt with two extraneous matters which he found to be irrelevant.’
    • ‘Part of the problem here surely goes to Sarris's editor, who should have been able to reduce the amount of extraneous material.’
    • ‘To the extent that extraneous material assists in identifying the purpose of the legislation, it is a useful tool.’
    • ‘Trainees no longer have extraneous materials and can even have their name printed on their customised training manuals.’
    • ‘Appendices enable the student to demonstrate due diligence without distracting or confusing the reader with extraneous material.’
    • ‘Experts should speak to facts and ensure that their opinions are a neutral evaluation based upon those facts and not coloured by some extraneous or irrelevant information.’
    • ‘However, it is far more likely to be some extraneous folkloric material.’
    • ‘In most books you could cut some extraneous material and still leave the plot intact - and you'd still have a substantial sized book.’
    • ‘If the landlord made its decision for a collateral purpose, unrelated or extraneous to the lease, the refusal will be found to be unreasonable.’
    • ‘Maybe after elections, when the passions will cool down the whole issue would be considered on its merits and demerits without bringing in extraneous and irrelevant issues.’
    • ‘It's not only the newspapers that are being made carriers for such extraneous material.’
    • ‘One example of an extraneous element irrelevant to any story-based or character exposition occurs after Sergio returns from the airport.’
    • ‘Often the teacher gives extraneous material with nothing to reference.’
    • ‘Because the point is this, the occasion of qualified privilege will not attach to material which is entirely extraneous to the information which might be the subject of the occasion, as he has put it - as Justice McHugh put it.’
    • ‘All right, then - let me reiterate my initial post, with all extraneous material removed.’
    • ‘I haven't done any editing on it though except to leave out some clearly extraneous material.’
    • ‘Overall, the authors' main points are clearly presented and thoroughly explained and without the intrusion of extraneous material.’
    irrelevant, immaterial, beside the point, not to the point, neither here nor there, nothing to do with it, not pertinent, not germane, not to the purpose, off the subject, unrelated, unconnected, inapposite, inappropriate, inapplicable, inconsequential, incidental, pointless, out of place, wide of the mark, peripheral, tangential
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  • 2Of external origin.

    ‘when the transmitter pack is turned off no extraneous noise is heard’
    • ‘Asked if he was paying attention to extraneous noises, he said: ‘No.’’
    • ‘A girl can distinguish between the cries of another infant from other extraneous noises long before a boy.’
    • ‘Effective cleaning methods include presoaking and manual, ultrasonic, or washer/ decontaminator cleaning to remove soil and extraneous material.’
    • ‘Also, in gatherings it may be difficult to use, because of the impact of extraneous noise.’
    • ‘And Dan, in that videotaped beating you can hear the extraneous voices of witnesses, perhaps.’
    • ‘At a very minimum the victim should have installed a firewall which can deal with the extraneous messages received.’
    • ‘This ability to block out extraneous input material is a natural security system we have developed.’
    • ‘One trainer has been ordering his jockeys to take out the plugs - which block out extraneous noise during racing and are designed to encourage calmness - at particular points near the finish.’
    • ‘‘It is absent of any extraneous noises or acts that we would not associate with a normal aviation environment,’ Black said.’
    • ‘Please ignore any extraneous messages you may hear during this time.’
    • ‘The computer has a program that distinguishes the call of the dickcissal from other bird calls and extraneous noise.’
    • ‘The use of the orchestra now seems relatively conventional - no tam tams, marimbas, electric guitars or any of the other extraneous noises that are so popular with the contemporary gang.’
    • ‘As a student becomes more proficient, extraneous material can be added.’
    • ‘So well are all extraneous sources of noise kept under control that it is dangerously easy to exceed the motorway speed limit.’
    • ‘Foreign coins and other extraneous objects go to one side.’
    • ‘One of his goals was eliminating extraneous engine noise.’
    • ‘A spokesman for Rochdale Council said they were now aware of the extraneous light and would deal with as soon as possible.’
    • ‘After one hour, grains were sonicated in an ultrasonic bath for one minute to remove extraneous materials from the surface of the grains.’
    • ‘Shotgun microphones are the most common in film-making, due to their ability to cut out extraneous noise and focus in on the particular subject.’
    • ‘A trial was coded as incorrect when the response did not correspond to the target word, while a spoil was coded either when the voice key was triggered by extraneous noise or when the voice key was not triggered by the participant's response.’
    external, outside, exterior, extrinsic, outward, adventitious, alien, foreign
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    1. 2.1Separate from the object to which it is attached.
      ‘other insects attach extraneous objects or material to themselves’
      • ‘It requires use of a hammer mill to chop or break up stems, followed by cleaning treatments to remove the extraneous material.’
      • ‘We examined each sample with an optical microscope to ensure that no extraneous material was included in the sample; none was seen.’
      • ‘To aid in the interpretation of mutant phenotypes, we subjected several of the various stl mutant chromosomes to recombination to remove unrelated extraneous mutations in linked genes.’
      • ‘Who knows what children born of such techniques may have floating around as extraneous genetic or viral material?’
      • ‘With the extraneous materials strained from the rock mantle, there was still a good core of iron, nickel, zinc, and copper.’
      • ‘Trimming extraneous material from the mirror to reduce inertia results in the typical elliptical or polygon-shaped galvo mirror.’
      • ‘Attachment cones of the latter type are likely to be extensively contaminated with extraneous material, even if the fossils are well preserved and unaltered.’
      • ‘To create a cocoa powder, processors first must clean the beans well, removing all extraneous material.’
      • ‘Recent scholarship, however, has tended to the view that lecture notes and other extraneous material might have been included in the text, Kant being increasingly dependent on an amanuensis when transcribing his drafts.’
      • ‘Another defective specimen cause of erroneous diagnosis is that of extraneous tissue unappreciated as foreign to that sample.’
      • ‘In undertaking these controls, we could be confident that any cues that did occur in the test tank arose directly from the fish themselves and not from any extraneous material introduced with the fish.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin extraneus + -ous.