Last modified on 30 August 2014, at 00:06




From Middle English forein, from Old French forain, from Vulgar Latin *forānus, from Latin forās (outside, outdoors), also spelled forīs (outside, outdoors). Displaced native Middle English elendish, ellendish (foreign) (from Old English elelendisc, compare Old English ellende (foreign), elland (foreign land)), Middle English eltheodi, eltheodish (foreign) (from Old English elþēodiġ, elþēodisc (foreign)), and non-native Middle English peregrin (foreign) (from Old French peregrin).



foreign (comparative more foreign, superlative most foreign)

  1. From a different country.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 2, The Ayrsham Mystery[1]:
      The cane was undoubtedly of foreign make, for it had a solid silver ferrule at one end, which was not English hall–marked.
    • 2013 August 24, “Guardian warriors and golden eggs”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8850: 
      Foreign companies love to complain about doing business in China. [] Amid such moans it is worth remembering that, for all the barriers that foreign multinationals face in China, it has welcomed them with open arms compared with the protectionism imposed by Japan and South Korea at comparable stages in their economic development.
    There are many more foreign students in Europe since the Erasmus scheme started.
  2. Belonging to a different culture.
    Eating with chopsticks was a foreign concept to him.
  3. Of an object, etc, in a place where it does not belong.
    foreign body
  4. (dated) Remote; distant; strange; not belonging; not connected or related.
    • Jonathan Swift
      This design is not foreign from some people's thoughts.
  5. (obsolete) Held at a distance; excluded; exiled.
    • Shakespeare
      Kept him a foreign man still; which so grieved him, / That he ran mad and died.
  6. (US, state law) From a different one of the states of the United States, as of a state of residence or incorporation.
  7. Belonging to a different organization, company etc.
    My bank charges me $2.50 every time I use a foreign ATM.



Derived termsEdit



foreign (plural foreigns)

  1. (informal) foreigner