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extern Syllabification: ex·tern
Pronunciation: /ˈekstərn/

Definition of extern in English:


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
  • Three weeks before the scheduled event, residents and externs are required to begin their search for a scientific article that answers clinical questions or raises innovative ideas.
  • I worked at the hospital with three more externs, shifting to a new section of the hospital each quarter.
  • In terms of skills, externs often function in a role similar to that of a nursing assistant.
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
  • Each year up to six students will be chosen to work as paid summer externs.
  • This university program does not create an employment relationship between the extern and the sponsor.
  • What I and the two other externs didn't know was that each kitchen recruited and ‘bid’ for a particular extern.
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.

Words that rhyme with extern

lady-fern • Vättern

Definition of extern in:

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