1. Being without beginning or end: belief in an eternal creator.
a. Continuing without interruption; perpetual: earned my eternal gratitude. See Synonyms at continual.
b. Seemingly endless; interminable: eternal waiting at the airport.
1. Something timeless, uninterrupted, or endless: "Shall we speak of universals and eternals?" (Cynthia Ozick).
2. Eternal God. Used with the.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin aeternālis, from Latin aeternus; see aiw- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
e′ter·nali·ty (ē′tər-nălĭ-tē), e·ternal·ness n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.