Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of, relating to, or located within the limits or surface; inner.
  • adj. Residing in or dependent on essential nature; intrinsic: the internal contradictions of the theory.
  • adj. Located, acting, or effective within the body.
  • adj. Of or relating to mental or spiritual nature: "An internal sense of righteousness dwindles into an external concern for reputation” ( A.R. Gurney, Jr.)
  • adj. Of or relating to the domestic affairs of a nation, group, or business.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. inside of something
  • adj. within the body
  • adj. concerned with the domestic affairs of a nation, state or other political community.
  • adj. concerned with the non-public affairs of a company or other organisation

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Inward; interior; being within any limit or surface; inclosed; -- opposed to external.
  • adj. Derived from, or dependent on, the thing itself; inherent.
  • adj. Pertaining to its own affairs or interests; especially, (said of a country) domestic, as opposed to foreign
  • adj. Pertaining to the inner being or the heart; spiritual.
  • adj. Intrinsic; inherent; real.
  • adj. Lying toward the mesial plane; mesial.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Situated or comprised within, or in an inner part or place; inclosed; on the finite side of a bounding surface or line; within the outer boundary of; visceral.
  • Pertaining to the subject itself, and independent, or relatively so, of other things. Thus, the internal affairs of a country are the affairs of its people with one another.
  • Inner; pertaining to the mind, or to the relations of the mind to itself.
  • In anatomy and zoology, in general, inner or interior; not superficial; deep-set; away from the surface or next to the axis of the body or of a part: as, the internal carotid or iliac artery; the internal head of the gastrocnemius.
  • To be taken internally, as a medicine.
  • Applied to a student who has studied in a college of an examining university, as opposed to an external student, or one who has studied in a college not belonging to that institution.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. located inward
  • adj. innermost or essential
  • adj. occurring within an institution or community
  • adj. inside the country
  • adj. happening or arising or located within some limits or especially surface

Etymologies

Middle English internall, from Old French internel, from Medieval Latin internālis, from Latin internus, from inter, within; see en in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Medieval Latin internālis ("of or pertaining to the inner part"), from Latin internus ("internal") + -ālis. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • What does 'internal affair' really mean? yahooBuzzArticleHeadline = 'What does \'internal affair\' really mean? '

    What does 'internal affair' really mean?

  • It is customary to distinguish the internal from the external work of art: the terminology seems here to be infelicitous, for the work of art (the aesthetic work) is always _internal_; and that which is called _external_ is no longer a work of art.

    Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic

  • Moreover, it has appeared that different species show a tendency to variability in special directions, and probably in different degrees, and that at any rate Mr. Darwin himself concedes the existence of an internal barrier to change when he credits the goose with "a singularly inflexible organization;" also, that he admits the presence of an _internal_ proclivity to change when he speaks of "a whole organization seeming to have become plastic, and tending to depart from the parental type."

    On the Genesis of Species

  • And the internal is absolutely fascinating, equally if not more suspenseful, a integral part of the plot in a way not many writers can pull off.

    Advance reader reviews of The Last Secret by Mary Mcgarry Morris.

  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has warned Hungary will fight back if the 27-nation European Union interferes in what he calls internal politics while his country holds the EU's presidency.

    European Parliament Members Challenge Hungary Media Law

  • Snyder moved to New York City in 1967 and in the late 1960s began incorporating materials she associated with female imagery into her paintings, such as flocking (a thin, inexpensive type of cloth), beans, lentils, seeds, threads and silk, making what she referred to as internal landscapes.

    Joan Snyder.

  • I know that a lot of people believe that this difference between the external and the internal is an important distinction to make between fiction and film, and that drawing it usually results in an implicit -- or not so implict -- valorization of fiction over film.

    Film and Literature

  • But what's very interesting is, when you drill down on these numbers and you look at what we call the internal numbers on this, you see how partisan a debate this really has become.

    CNN Transcript Oct 21, 2009

  • But we took a look at our poll and what we call the internal numbers in our poll, Suzanne.

    CNN Transcript Nov 25, 2009

  • MCEDWARDS: An Israeli television producer who was involved in the protection of the film says the documentary was originally set to air four or five months ago, but then was canceled because of what he called internal circumstances.

    CNN Transcript Aug 30, 2006

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