[fawr-in, for-]
See more synonyms for foreign on
  1. of, relating to, or derived from another country or nation; not native: foreign cars.
  2. of or relating to contact or dealings with other countries; connected with foreign affairs.
  3. external to one's own country or nation: a foreign country.
  4. carried on abroad, or with other countries: foreign trade.
  5. belonging to or coming from another district, province, etc.
  6. located outside a specific district, province, etc.
  7. Law.
    1. of or relating to law outside of local jurisdiction.
    2. of or relating to another jurisdiction, as of another nation or state.
  8. belonging to or proceeding from other persons or things: a statement supported by foreign testimony.
  9. not belonging to the place or body where found: foreign matter in a chemical mixture.
  10. not related to or connected with the thing under consideration: foreign to our discussion.
  11. alien in character; irrelevant or inappropriate; remote.
  12. strange or unfamiliar.

Origin of foreign

1200–50; Middle English forein < Old French forain, forein < Vulgar Latin *forānus, derivative of Latin forās outside
Related formsfor·eign·ly, adverbfor·eign·ness, nounnon·for·eign, adjectivenon·for·eign·ness, nounpro·for·eign, adjectivequa·si-for·eign, adjectiveun·for·eign, adjective

Synonyms for foreign

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for foreignness

Contemporary Examples of foreignness

Historical Examples of foreignness

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for foreignness


  1. of, involving, located in, or coming from another country, area, people, etca foreign resident
  2. dealing or concerned with another country, area, people, etca foreign office
  3. not pertinent or relateda matter foreign to the discussion
  4. not familiar; strange
  5. in an abnormal place or positionforeign matter; foreign bodies
  6. law outside the jurisdiction of a particular state; alien
Derived Formsforeignly, adverbforeignness, noun

Word Origin for foreign

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

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