Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Located away from one's native country: on business in a foreign city.
  • adj. Of, characteristic of, or from a place or country other than the one being considered: a foreign custom.
  • adj. Conducted or involved with other nations or governments; not domestic: foreign trade.
  • adj. Situated in an abnormal or improper place in the body and typically introduced from outside: a foreign object in the eye.
  • adj. Not natural; alien: Jealousy is foreign to her nature.
  • adj. Not germane; irrelevant.
  • adj. Subject to the jurisdiction of another political unit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. From a different country.
  • adj. belonging to a different culture.
  • adj. Of an object, etc, in a place where it does not belong.
  • adj. From a different one of the states of the United States, as of a state of residence or incorporation.
  • adj. Belonging to a different organization, company etc.
  • n. foreigner

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Outside; extraneous; separated; alien
  • adj. Not native or belonging to a certain country; born in or belonging to another country, nation, sovereignty, or locality
  • adj. Remote; distant; strange; not belonging; not connected; not pertaining or pertient; not appropriate; not harmonious; not agreeable; not congenial; -- with to or from
  • adj. Held at a distance; excluded; exiled.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not native; alien; belonging to, characteristic of, or derived from another country or nation; exotic; not indigenous: as, foreign animals or plants; the large foreign population in the United States; foreign manner.
  • Having an alien situation or relation; external to or away from one's native country: as, a foreign country or jurisdiction; to enter a foreign army or school.
  • [In law, for certain purposes, chiefly in the determination of private rights in a case of conflict of laws, the legislation and the judicial decisions of any one of the United States are commonly spoken of as foreign with respect to the other States, especially as regards matters not within the jurisdiction of the national government. Thus, in each State corporations formed under the law of any other State are termed foreign corporations. On the other hand, as commerce is subject to regulation by Congress, the term foreign port, when used in reference to such commerce, implies a port outside of the United States; when used, however, in reference to a State law giving a lien upon shipping, it may also mean a port of any other State.]
  • Relating to or connected with another country or other countries; pertaining to external relations or jurisdiction: as, foreign diplomacy; a foreign minister; the department of foreign affairs in a government.
  • Being in a place other than its own; not naturally connected with its surroundings: specifically said of an object, as a bullet or any material, present in a part of the body or in any other situation which is normally free from such intrusion. Thus, sand in the eye, or a splinter or dead bone in the flesh, is foreign matter or a foreign body.
  • Not belonging (to); not connected (with); extraneous; irrelevant; not to the purpose: with to, or sometimes from: as, the sentiments you express are foreign to your heart; this design is foreign from my thoughts.
  • Excluded; not admitted; held at a distance.
  • n. A stranger; a foreigner; specifically, one who is not a citizen of the place referred to: opposed to freeman.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. relating to or originating in or characteristic of another place or part of the world
  • adj. not contained in or deriving from the essential nature of something
  • adj. not belonging to that in which it is contained; introduced from an outside source
  • adj. of concern to or concerning the affairs of other nations (other than your own)

Etymologies

Middle English forein, from Old French forain, from Late Latin forānus, on the outside, from Latin forās, outside; see dhwer- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The English mind took naturally to rebellion, —when foreign, —and it felt particular confidence in the Southern Confederacy because of its combined attributes, —foreign rebellion of English blood, —which came nearer ideal eccentricity than could be reached by Poles, Hungarians, Italians or Frenchmen.

    Eccentricity (1863)

  • Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, British foreign secretary

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • The London-based Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) - an independent think-tank whose president is British foreign secretary Robin Cook

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • As a result, I was generally able to get away with buying a half-hour or an hour of Internet access at a time in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, where "complimentary Internet" is a term foreign to hotels.

  • One local dealing with visitors carries the title "foreign minister."

    Chinese Villagers Vow Protests Will Persist

  • Although I had been eating foreign food the previous night, I could have been eating Italian instead, and the word foreign would have applied as well.

    The Sacred Promise

  • That playing down of the phrase foreign service was what civil service employees wanted.

    The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time

  • The opening salvo at the phrase foreign service was fired by Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time

  • From MPI: - The term foreign born refers to people residing in the United States who were not United States citizens at birth.

    TreeHugger

  • CONWAY: I don't think I used the term foreign fighters.

    Marine Corps Moms

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