Definition of external in US English:



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

    ‘the external walls’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Water was collected from the external surface of the wall when surrounded by a saturated atmosphere while P was developing.’
    • ‘The external diagonal steel structure uses triangular forms to be inherently strong, permitting a flexible column-free interior space.’
    • ‘Only the external walls remain, structurally stabilized by a steel plate that runs around the rim of the brick shell.’
    • ‘In the next few weeks the roof, outer cladding and external works will be added.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 arrangement of the ommatidia gives a smooth appearance to the external surface of the eye.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The thorax shows the external surface of the anterior half of the axial rings and of the inner portions of the pleurae.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The antigen was more abundant in the zone adjacent to the plasma membrane than in the zone closer to the external wall surface.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Heavy winds exert a load on the external walls of the structure, thus affecting the construction technology.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The wall and roof glazing is suspended under the external steel structure by means of point fixings.’
    • ‘Reversing the traditional discipline of the external surfaces, he paints internal dimensionality coming from within.’
    • ‘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.’
    outer, outside, outermost, outward, exterior, surface, superficial
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    1. 1.1 Relating to or denoting a medicine or similar substance for use on the outside of the body.
      ‘for external application only’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If your child is having only external radiation therapy, there's no need to worry.’
      • ‘In addition, there is a fundamental illogic to the use of external application of cold to lower temperature in a patient with true fever.’
      • ‘A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed that surgery and external beam radiation therapy have their downsides.’
      • ‘This permits them to be used in therapy as astringents for external application and as anti-diarrhoeics internally.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was found that the application of external iNO inhibits endogenous NO synthesis in the pulmonary capillaries.’
      • ‘Typically, external beam radiation therapy treatments are given every day, Monday through Friday, for four to eight weeks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most of these patients also had adjuvant therapy such as external beam radiation, brachytherapy, or chemotherapy.’
      • ‘The herbal medicines for external application are generally erosive and poisonous, and their dosages should be strictly handled.’
  • 2Coming or derived from a source outside the subject affected.

    ‘for many people the church was a symbol of external authority’
    • ‘Those who report, not to proper authorities, but to external sources abuse their positions of trust, he said.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As his case studies show, Damodaran takes full cognisance of that challenge, and also the other challenge, emanating from external trade sources.’
    • ‘The company blamed this largely due to external variables and a system 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.’
    • ‘With the exception of South Africa, expenditures on HIV / AIDS in these countries are financed mainly by external sources.’
    • ‘Yet these apparent improvements in ethical standards represent an unbalanced concentration on an external morality for medicine.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I think they've got support from external sources.’
    • ‘The most common cause of hip labral tears is the application of an external force on the hyperextended, externally rotated hip.’
    • ‘This answers some of the structural issues associated with the organisation in terms of an internal / external management structure’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is likely that such fluids were derived from crystallizing melts and no external source is necessarily required.’
    • ‘We hypothesized that the source and term of external debt affects farm production decisions and, consequently, efficiency.’
    • ‘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 contrast, the antiglobalization agenda largely is external to the formal political structures in Canada.’
    • ‘What often stands out is relative disarticulation between the workplace and external union structures, with the left stronger in the latter than the former.’
    • ‘In a generator, the source of energy is external.’
    1. 2.1 Coming from or relating to a foreign country or an outside institution.
      ‘responsibility for defense and external affairs’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The appropriate envelope then went to an external medical officer.’
      • ‘Internal management within most firms was weak, and external institutions within the town were strong.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If the Treaty of Waitangi were ruled to come under the external affairs power, for example, it would be subject to interpretation in Canberra.’
      • ‘In one way or another, these external institutions are powerful in producing conformity.’
      • ‘The formal education system had familiarized them with external institutions and norms, including the need for cash.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We think that they may have been influenced by external sources, from outside Britain.’
      • ‘This, he believes, has fuelled a certain willingness on their part to become Christians, and to subordinate themselves to external agents and institutions.’
      • ‘The external funding bodies had no input into protocol development, data collection, or analyses or interpretation.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘Thus, the pro-construction clans made use of the French legal system and external capitalist institutions to support their claims and efforts.’
      • ‘The main objective is to stop the farmers' dependence on external agencies and make them contribute towards protection of natural resources.’
      • ‘Proposals for projects funded by overseas bodies may be written by external consultants and presented to local groups for implementation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Night patrols, especially during the breeding season, are called for but subject to Council sourcing external funding.’
      • ‘If one looks hard enough, one can even find beginnings of modernisation of internal and external institutions in the Middle Eastern heartland.’
      outside, non-resident, visiting, from elsewhere, extramural, independent, consultant, consulting, advisory
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    2. 2.2Computing (of hardware) not contained in the main computer; peripheral.
      • ‘Other interconnects may require concentrators or other 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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Wireless connectivity and some features may require you to purchase additional software, services or external hardware.’
      • ‘Some laptop computers have built - in microphones, while some desktop computers require an external microphone to be plugged in.’
    3. 2.3 (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.’
      • ‘A single performance-limiting factor of external hard disk drives has always been their interface.’
      • ‘With this kit you can take almost any old hard drive and convert it into an external storage device.’
      • ‘It will be detected as an external storage device, and automatically be assigned a drive letter.’
      • ‘I talked to one guy whose idea of external storage was a USB disk.’


  • 1The outward features of something.

    ‘the place has all the appropriate externals, such as chimneys choked with ivy and windows with jasmine’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They appear different only in externals, just as milk is all the same though it comes from cows of different colour.’
    • ‘Here as elsewhere, Marcus is determined to unlearn the unwise attachments to externals that he has learned from his culture.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Soul and soul are thus of equal worth, the difference lies in the 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So, as my vision turns to externals once more, I'm feeling better and happier than I have for a long, long time.’
    • ‘The designers’ work inside the building is much more impressive to me than the externals.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Profiling means making smart choices when you have nothing but externals to go by.’
    • ‘My observation over many years is that the common Christian teachings about not being entangled with the world always focus on the externals.’
    • ‘‘I'd rather deal with frank externals than a sham of virtue,’ Flavia hissed.’
    • ‘When we truly forget the self, there is no division between inside and outside, no division between yourself and externals.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, these externals should not detract from the fact that this book is an important contribution to Calvin studies specifically and historical theology generally.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    outside, outside surface, outer surface, external surface, outward appearance, outward aspect, externals, facade, front
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    1. 1.1 Features that are only superficial; inessentials.
      • ‘Don't yield to the temptation to deal with externals in order to keep the conversation going, or to impress others.’
      • ‘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.’


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