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[fawr-in, for-] /ˈfɔr ɪn, ˈfɒr-/
of, relating to, or derived from another country or nation; not native:
foreign cars.
of or relating to contact or dealings with other countries; connected with foreign affairs.
external to one's own country or nation:
a foreign country.
carried on abroad, or with other countries:
foreign trade.
belonging to or coming from another district, province, etc.
located outside a specific district, province, etc.
  1. of or relating to law outside of local jurisdiction.
  2. of or relating to another jurisdiction, as of another nation or state.
belonging to or proceeding from other persons or things:
a statement supported by foreign testimony.
not belonging to the place or body where found:
foreign matter in a chemical mixture.
not related to or connected with the thing under consideration:
foreign to our discussion.
alien in character; irrelevant or inappropriate; remote.
strange or unfamiliar.
Origin of foreign
1200-50; Middle English forein < Old French forain, forein < Vulgar Latin *forānus, derivative of Latin forās outside
Related forms
foreignly, adverb
foreignness, noun
nonforeign, adjective
nonforeignness, noun
proforeign, adjective
quasi-foreign, adjective
unforeign, adjective
1, 3. alien. 4. international. 11. extraneous, outside. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for foreignness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She felt upon him the hardness, the foreignness of another influence.

    Sons and Lovers David Herbert Lawrence
  • It was not often he resented Lucienne's Teutonic independence, her foreignness, her atheism.

    When the Owl Cries Paul Bartlett
  • It was that I felt my aloneness, my foreignness to all things.

  • It loses much of its foreignness at once, and is thus easier to absorb.

    The American Language Henry L. Mencken
  • The feeling of disorientation and foreignness was new to Perry.


    Cory Doctorow
  • Beyond a doubt, consciousness of Miss Greta's foreignness was growing.

    The Messenger

    Elizabeth Robins
  • The stimulating novelty and foreignness of it was stirring all his blood.

    The History of David Grieve Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • The novelty, the foreignness, and the passion of these works, entranced the blas aristocratic society of London.

  • It was nourished by the sense of foreignness in the Greek ceremonies gradually introduced into the cult.

    The Religion of Numa Jesse Benedict Carter
British Dictionary definitions for foreignness


of, involving, located in, or coming from another country, area, people, etc: a foreign resident
dealing or concerned with another country, area, people, etc: a foreign office
not pertinent or related: a matter foreign to the discussion
not familiar; strange
in an abnormal place or position: foreign matter, foreign bodies
(law) outside the jurisdiction of a particular state; alien
Derived Forms
foreignly, adverb
foreignness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French forain, from Vulgar Latin forānus (unattested) situated on the outside, from Latin foris outside
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 foreignness



mid-13c., ferren, foreyne "out of doors," from Old French forain "strange, foreign; outer, external, outdoor; remote, out-of-the-way" (12c.), from Medieval Latin foranus "on the outside, exterior," from Latin foris "outside," literally "out of doors," related to for1s "door," from PIE *dhwor-ans-, from root *dhwer- "door, doorway" (see door). Spelling altered 17c. perhaps by influence of reign, sovereign. Replaced native fremd. Sense of "not in one's own land" is first attested late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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