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intrinsic

adjective

Definition: 1. being part of the fundamental nature or substance of something; 2. being contained entirely within a part of the body

Synonyms: innate, inherent, fundamental, basic, essential

Antonyms: extrinsic

Tips: Intrinsic is derived from the French intrinsèque, "internal," from the Latin intrinsecus, "inward," from intra, "within." Think, "internal and within," as below the surface--there is more to something or someone than the surface. Intrinsic is a synonym of inherent and innate, but there are some subtle differences to note when using these words. Innate is used best to describe something you are born with: "Everyone in his family has an innate understanding of mathematics." Inherent is used to describe the essential characteristics of someone or something: "Quality and reliability are inherent in everything we do." Intrinsic is often paired with the word "value" (i.e. intrinsic value) in order to describe the inherent worth of something. For example, the intrinsic value of gold goes well beyond its surface value.

Usage Examples:

The geologist recognized the intrinsic value of the gemstone the instant he saw it. (inherent, innate)

You must effectively use the intrinsic muscles of the larynx in order to be a powerful and controlled singer. (essential, belonging to one body part)

I bought some shares of the stock because I believe its intrinsic value is higher than its current price. (inherent)

Those slides are intrinsic to our presentation, so don’t let them out of your sight. (essential)


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