VIDEO FOR ALIEN
Are "Immigrant," "Ex-pat," And "Alien" Synonyms?
The words "immigrant," "expat," and "alien" all have some history and tensions behind them. Is one word better to use than the others? This man helps us figure it out.
Origin of alien
usage note for alien
historical usage of alien
OTHER WORDS FROM aliennon·al·ien, noun, adjectivepro·al·ien, adjective
Words nearby alien
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does alien mean?
Historically, the word alien has been used in a way that is now often considered disparaging and offensive: to refer to a person who was born in one country and now lives in another country without having become a citizen.
Alien and its more general synonym foreigner are now often considered disparaging and offensive due to being used in a way that’s intended to otherize a person—mark them as different and unwelcome. Such use is typically attributed to xenophobia, racism, and anti-immigrant stances.
Relatedly, many object to the word illegal in illegal alien and illegal immigrant due to its implication that a person’s very existence can be illegal.
There are other common uses of the word alien that are not considered offensive, but that are also based on the idea of something being unfamiliar or from an entirely different place.
Alien can be used as an adjective to describe something as entirely unfamiliar, as in It was the first time he had returned in many years, and the place now seemed alien to him. The word foreign can be used in the same way.
The word alien is also commonly used as a noun to refer to a being from another planet, sometimes called an extraterrestrial or a space alien. The classic image of an alien from science fiction and pop culture (the one that comes out of a flying saucer) is a little green humanoid with a big head and large eyes. But aliens have been depicted in many different ways.
Where does alien come from?
The first records of the word alien come from around 1300. It ultimately comes from the Latin word aliēnus, meaning “foreign,” which itself comes from the word alius, meaning “other.”
Did you know ... ?
What are some synonyms for alien?
- extraterrestrial (in the sense of a space alien)
What are some words that share a root or word element with alien?
What are some words that often get used in discussing alien?
How is alien used in real life?
When used in the context of citizenship and immigration, the word alien is often considered disparaging and offensive. However, it’s also commonly used as an adjective meaning “unfamiliar” and to refer to a being from another planet, especially in the context of science fiction.
I was thinking just now that if peaceful aliens arrived on Earth and made their presence known, humans would not be very generous hosts.
— Elspeth Eastman (@ElspethEastman) March 2, 2014
We're gonna see and meet aliens this year.
— Mutahar (@OrdinaryGamers) June 4, 2020
Try using alien!
True or False?
The word alien derives from a Latin word meaning “other.”
How to use alien in a sentence
For one thing, “computer proofs may not be as alien as we think,” DeDeo said.How Close Are Computers to Automating Mathematical Reasoning?|Stephen Ornes|August 27, 2020|Quanta Magazine
Astrobiologists now consider it one of the most likely places to search for alien life in the solar system.These Images Expose the Dark Side of the Solar System - Issue 89: The Dark Side|Corey S. Powell|August 26, 2020|Nautilus
“We basically pretend we’re alien observers looking at our planet,” says Giada Arney, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.Hubble watched a lunar eclipse to see Earth from an alien’s perspective|Maria Temming|August 17, 2020|Science News
If the aliens ever show up at Earth they won’t ask to be taken to our leader, they’ll ask for a cheek swab and a consent form.How Life Could Continue to Evolve - Issue 88: Love & Sex|Caleb Scharf|August 12, 2020|Nautilus
In interplanetary texts, humans of all nations, races, and genders have to come together as one people in the face of alien invasions.Science Fiction Explores the Interconnectedness Revealed by the Coronavirus Pandemic|Mayurika Chakravorty|August 9, 2020|Singularity Hub
Capaldi said the nature of the character—a time-travelling alien—meant his successor could take any form.Doctor Who: It’s Time For a Black, Asian, or Woman Doctor|Nico Hines|December 11, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The idea that I might simply want to express my independent thoughts was alien to them.
A limited number of medical patients will be able to purchase “Chunky Diesel” or “Alien Dawg” for just $100.Colorado Weed Dispensaries Celebrate ‘Green Friday’|Abby Haglage|November 28, 2014|DAILY BEAST
“They treated me like an alien,” she says, explaining that North Koreans are viciously stereotyped in South Korea.How ‘Titanic ’Helped This Brave Young Woman Escape North Korea’s Totalitarian State|Lizzie Crocker|October 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Last but not least, the Inhumans are a genetically advanced “inhuman race” that was formed via experimentation by the alien Kree.Inside Marvel’s Phase 3: How ‘The Avengers’ Cross Paths with Black Panther and the New Superheroes|Marlow Stern|October 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The member banks should look upon the reserve bank not as an alien but as their own institution.Readings in Money and Banking|Chester Arthur Phillips
An American woman therefore who marries an alien takes the nationality of her husband.
In 1855 Congress passed an act conferring citizenship on alien women who should marry American citizens.
A deep melancholy settled down upon the mind of the wounded girl, and she felt that she was desolate and an alien in her own home.Madame Roland, Makers of History|John S. C. Abbott
A dependent who is an alien living in a foreign country is not debarred from receiving compensation.