of foreign origin or character; not native; introduced from abroad, but not fully naturalized or acclimatized: exotic foods; exotic plants.
strikingly unusual or strange in effect or appearance: an exotic hairstyle.
of a uniquely new or experimental nature: exotic weapons.
of, relating to, or involving stripteasing: the exotic clubs where strippers are featured.


something that is exotic: The flower show included several tropical exotics with showy blooms.
an exotic dancer; a striptease dancer or belly dancer.

Origin of exotic

1590–1600; < Latin exōticus < Greek exōtikós foreign. See exo-, -tic
Related formsex·ot·i·cal·ly, adverbex·ot·ic·ness, nounnon·ex·ot·ic, adjectivenon·ex·ot·i·cal·ly, adverbun·ex·ot·ic, adjectiveun·ex·ot·i·cal·ly, adverb
Can be confusederotic erratic exotic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for exotic

Contemporary Examples of exotic

Historical Examples of exotic

  • It gave me the notion of an exotic Immensity ruled by an august Benevolence.

    Heart of Darkness

    Joseph Conrad

  • It was the exotic complexion and the slightness of his build which had put me off so completely.

  • It was now May, and London was bright with all the exotic gaiety of the season.

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope

  • There was a kind of exotic quality in meeting Gistla that never disappeared.

    George Loves Gistla

    James McKimmey

  • Its language was Latin, an exotic dialect in the Eastern half of the Empire.

    Ancient Law

    Sir Henry James Sumner Maine

British Dictionary definitions for exotic



originating in a foreign country, esp one in the tropics; not nativean exotic plant
having a strange or bizarre allure, beauty, or quality
NZ (of trees, esp pine trees) native to the northern hemisphere but cultivated in New Zealandan exotic forest
of or relating to striptease


an exotic person or thing
Derived Formsexotically, adverbexoticism, nounexoticness, noun

Word Origin for exotic

C16: from Latin exōticus, from Greek exōtikos foreign, from exō 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

Word Origin and History for exotic

1590s, "belonging to another country," from Middle French exotique (16c.) and directly from Latin exoticus, from Greek exotikos "foreign," literally "from the outside," from exo "outside" (see exo-). Sense of "unusual, strange" first recorded in English 1620s, from notion of "alien, outlandish." In reference to strip-teasers and dancing girls, it is first attested by 1942, American English.

Exotic dancer in the nightclub trade means a girl who goes through a few motions while wearing as few clothes as the cops will allow in the city where she is working ... ["Life," May 5, 1947]

As a noun from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper