[ fawr-in, for- ]
See synonyms for: foreignforeignness 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.

  1. external to one's own country or nation: a foreign country.

  2. carried on abroad, or with other countries: foreign trade.

  3. belonging to or coming from another district, province, etc.

  4. located outside a specific district, province, etc.

  5. Law.

    • of or relating to law outside of local jurisdiction.

    • of or relating to another jurisdiction, as of another nation or state.

  6. belonging to or proceeding from other persons or things: a statement supported by foreign testimony.

  7. not belonging to the place or body where found: foreign matter in a chemical mixture.

  8. not related to or connected with the thing under consideration: foreign to our discussion.

  9. alien in character; irrelevant or inappropriate; remote.

  10. strange or unfamiliar.

Origin of foreign

First recorded in 1200–50; Middle English forein, from Old French forain, forein, from unattested Vulgar Latin forānus, derivative of Latin forās “outside”

Other words for foreign

Other words from foreign

  • for·eign·ly, adverb
  • for·eign·ness, noun
  • non·for·eign, adjective
  • non·for·eign·ness, noun
  • pro·for·eign, adjective
  • quasi-foreign, adjective
  • un·for·eign, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use foreign in a sentence

  • Beyond that, however, he is doubly affected by his foreignness.

  • The rich clothing became him well, and had just a hint of foreignness, as if commonly he were more roughly garbed.

    The Path of the King | John Buchan
  • Yet every time we cross the Channel we are reminded in some fresh way of the foreignness of foreign countries.

    Personality in Literature | Rolfe Arnold Scott-James
  • Aggie, whose speech had the prettiest faintest foreignness, sweetly and eagerly quavered.

    The Awkward Age | Henry James
  • The foreignness as an asset overcame his objection to the French, and “an actress” also sounded unconventional.

    George Borrow | Edward Thomas
  • Such words are not unknown to the Englishman, but when he uses them it is with a plain sense of their foreignness.

    The American Language | Henry L. Mencken

British Dictionary definitions for foreign


/ (ˈfɒrɪn) /

  1. of, involving, located in, or coming from another country, area, people, etc: a foreign resident

  2. dealing or concerned with another country, area, people, etc: a foreign office

  1. not pertinent or related: a matter foreign to the discussion

  2. not familiar; strange

  3. in an abnormal place or position: foreign matter; foreign bodies

  4. law outside the jurisdiction of a particular state; alien

Origin of foreign

C13: from Old French forain, from Vulgar Latin forānus (unattested) situated on the outside, from Latin foris outside

Derived forms of foreign

  • foreignly, adverb
  • foreignness, noun

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