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alien

[eyl-yuh n, ey-lee-uh n]
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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). See also resident alien, illegal alien.
  2. a foreigner.
  3. a person who has been estranged or excluded.
  4. a creature from outer space; extraterrestrial(def 2).
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adjective
  1. residing under a government or in a country other than that of one's birth without having or obtaining the status of citizenship there.
  2. belonging or relating to aliens: alien property.
  3. unlike one's own; strange; not belonging to one: alien speech.
  4. adverse; hostile; opposed (usually followed by to or from): ideas alien to modern thinking.
  5. extraterrestrial(def 1).
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Origin of alien

1300–50; Middle English < Middle French < Latin aliēnus, equivalent to *alies- (ali-, base of alius other + -es- noun suffix) + -nus adj. suffix
Related formsnon·al·ien, noun, adjectivepro·al·ien, adjective

Synonyms

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1. immigrant. 2. See stranger. 3. outcast. 7. exotic, foreign.

Usage note

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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

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
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adjective
  1. unnaturalized; foreign
  2. having foreign allegiancealien territory
  3. unfamiliar; strangean alien quality in a work of art
  4. (postpositive and foll by to) repugnant or opposed (to)war is alien to his philosophy
  5. (in science fiction) of or from another world
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verb
  1. (tr) rare to transfer (property, etc) to another
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Derived Formsalienage (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

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.

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n.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

alien in Science

alien

lē-ən]
  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.