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alien

[eyl-yuh n, ey-lee-uh n] /ˈeɪl yən, ˈeɪ li ən/
noun
1.
Often Disparaging and Offensive. a resident of one country who was born in or owes allegiance to another country and has not acquired citizenship by naturalization in the country of residence (distinguished from citizen).
2.
a foreigner.
3.
a person who has been estranged or excluded.
4.
a creature from outer space; extraterrestrial (def 2).
adjective
5.
residing under a government or in a country other than that of one's birth without having or obtaining the status of citizenship there.
6.
belonging or relating to aliens:
alien property.
7.
unlike one's own; strange; not belonging to one:
alien speech.
8.
adverse; hostile; opposed (usually followed by to or from):
ideas alien to modern thinking.
9.
extraterrestrial (def 1).
Origin of alien
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English < Middle French < Latin aliēnus, equivalent to *alies- (ali-, base of alius other + -es- noun suffix) + -nus adj. suffix
Related forms
nonalien, noun, adjective
proalien, adjective
Synonyms
1. immigrant. 2. See stranger. 3. outcast. 7. exotic, foreign.
Usage note
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for alien
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Let me tell you, Mr. Cross, we are really in an alien country here.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • It had carried an alien note that overcame him with instinctive fear and horror.

    Salvage in Space John Stewart Williamson
  • They were quiet for a while, and then Marsh turned to Henry and said, "Is that alien to you?"

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • At Rumpell's and at Boveyhayne he had had no sensation of alien origin.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • His sense of being an alien in Dublin had persisted all the time that he had lived there.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
British Dictionary definitions for alien

alien

/ˈeɪljən; ˈeɪlɪən/
noun
1.
a person owing allegiance to a country other than that in which he lives; foreigner
2.
any being or thing foreign to the environment in which it now exists
3.
(in science fiction) a being from another world, sometimes specifically an extraterrestrial
adjective
4.
unnaturalized; foreign
5.
having foreign allegiance: alien territory
6.
unfamiliar; strange: an alien quality in a work of art
7.
(postpositive) and foll by to. repugnant or opposed (to): war is alien to his philosophy
8.
(in science fiction) of or from another world
verb
9.
(transitive) (rare) to transfer (property, etc) to another
Derived Forms
alienage (ˈeɪljənɪdʒ; ˈeɪlɪə-) noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin aliēnus foreign, from alius other
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for alien
adj.

mid-14c., "strange, foreign," from Old French alien "alien, strange, foreign; an alien, stranger, foreigner," from Latin alienus "of or belonging to another, foreign, alien, strange," also, as a noun, "a stranger, foreigner," adjectival form of alius "(an)other" (see alias). Meaning "not of the Earth" first recorded 1920. An alien priory (c.1500) is one owing obedience to a mother abbey in a foreign country.

n.

"foreigner, citizen of a foreign land," from alien (adj.). In the science fiction sense, from 1953.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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alien in Science
alien
  (ā'lē-ən)   
Introduced to a region deliberately or accidentally by humans. Starlings, German cockroaches, and dandelions are species that are alien to North America but have become widely naturalized in the continent. Compare endemic, indigenous.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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