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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle French intrinsèque, from Latin intrīnsecus (on the inside, inwardly), from *intrim, an assumed adverbial form of inter (within) + secus (by, on the side).


  • IPA(key): /ɪn.ˈtɹɪn.zɪk/
  • (file)


intrinsic (comparative more intrinsic, superlative most intrinsic)

  1. Innate, inherent, inseparable from the thing itself, essential.
    Synonyms: essential, inherent, innate, proper to; see also Thesaurus:intrinsic, Thesaurus:innate
    Antonym: extrinsic
    the intrinsic value of gold or silver
    the intrinsic merit of an action
    • 1832, [Isaac Taylor], Saturday Evening. [], London: Holdsworth and Ball, →OCLC:
      He was better qualified than they to estimate justly the intrinsic value of Grecian philosophy and refinement.
  2. (anatomy, of a body part) Situated, produced, secreted in, or coming from inside an organ, tissue, muscle or member.
  3. (programming, of a function or operator) Built-in.
    • 1997, Jeanne C. Adams, Walter S. Brainerd, Jeanne T. Martin, Brian T. Smith, Jerrold L. Wagener, Fortran 95 Handbook: Complete ISO/ANSI Reference, MIT Press, →ISBN, page 192:
      In addition to the Fortran operators that are intrinsic (built in), there may be user-defined operators in expressions.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



intrinsic (plural intrinsics)

  1. (computing, programming) A built-in function that is implemented directly by the compiler, without any intermediate call to a library.
    SIMD intrinics
    • 2021, Robert Robey, Yuliana Zamora, Parallel and High Performance Computing, Simon and Schuster, →ISBN, page 190:
      Crappy loops, we got them: Use vector intrinsics¶ For troublesome loops that just don't vectorize even with hints, vector intrinsics are another option.
  2. (video games) An ability possessed by a character and not requiring any external equipment.
    You can acquire the fire-resistance intrinsic by eating dragon meat.

Further reading[edit]