Definition of extern in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈekstərn/


1North American A person working in but not living in an institution, such as a nonresident doctor or other worker in a hospital.
Example sentences
  • Collaboration between the extern or intern, clinical educator, and preceptor is extremely important if the student is to successfully achieve the goals.
  • For the student nurse in the extern role, this translates to practicing in the perioperative setting the critical-thinking, interpersonal, and technical skills learned in school.
  • Nurse externs work under the direct supervision of preceptors in a variety of settings.
1.1A student participating in a temporary training program in a workplace: the opportunity to shadow alumni mentors as externs provides students with experience impossible to gain in the classroom she worked as a judicial extern for two US federal judges
More example sentences
  • During that time, I took a break to serve as an extern on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
  • Sponsors and students should jointly determine the extern's role in his/her experience as well as the length of the externship.
  • She worked as a judicial extern for two US federal judges as well as a trainee at the European Commission's Legal Service.
2(In a strictly enclosed order of nuns) a sister who does not live exclusively within the enclosure and goes on outside errands.
Example sentences
  • In the miniature society of the cloister, numbering between ten and eleven sisters and an extern or two, her success meets some of the same responses a successful worldly artist would find.
  • The two other externs, whose duties often prevented them from having time for silent meditation, had also chosen to remain.
  • These three sisters are the externs at the convent of St. Teresa in Coimbra where Sister Lucia lived for 57 years.


Mid 16th century (as an adjective in the sense 'external'): from French externe or Latin externus, from exter 'outer'. The word was used by Shakespeare to mean 'outward appearance'; current senses date from the early 17th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ex·tern

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