alien

adjective
\ ˈā-lē-ən , ˈāl-yən\

Definition of alien

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : belonging or relating to another person, place, or thing : strange an alien environment
b : relating, belonging, or owing allegiance to another country or government : foreign alien residents
c : exotic sense 1 alien plants
d : coming from another world : extraterrestrial alien beings an alien spaceship When it comes to knowing what alien life forms might be like, we don't have any idea.— Kate Shuster
2 : differing in nature or character typically to the point of incompatibility ideas alien to democracy

alien

noun

Definition of alien (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a person of another family, race, or nation aliens seeking asylum in the U.S.
2 : a foreign-born resident who has not been naturalized and is still a subject or citizen of a foreign country broadly : a foreign-born citizen
3 : extraterrestrial a movie about an invasion of Earth by monstrous aliens
4 : exotic sense 1 Russian thistle, kudzu, and other aliens

alien

verb
aliened; aliening; aliens

Definition of alien (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

2 : to transfer the title of (property)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from alien

Adjective

alienly adverb
alienness \ -​lē-​ən-​nəs , -​yən-​nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for alien

Synonyms: Adjective

foreign, nonnative

Synonyms: Verb

alienate, disaffect, disgruntle, estrange, sour

Antonyms: Adjective

domestic, native

Antonyms: Verb

reconcile

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for alien

Adjective

extrinsic, extraneous, foreign, alien mean external to a thing, its essential nature, or its original character. extrinsic applies to what is distinctly outside the thing in question or is not contained in or derived from its essential nature. sentimental value that is extrinsic to the house's market value extraneous applies to what is on or comes from the outside and may or may not be capable of becoming an essential part. arguments extraneous to the issue foreign applies to what is so different as to be rejected or repelled or to be incapable of becoming assimilated. techniques foreign to French cuisine alien is stronger than foreign in suggesting opposition, repugnance, or irreconcilability. a practice totally alien to her nature

Examples of alien in a Sentence

Adjective

new immigrants with customs alien to the community where they have settled it's completely alien to her nature to wish evil of anyone

Noun

aliens seeking asylum in the U.S. He claims that he was captured by space aliens.

Verb

such emotional cruelty will rapidly alien any friends you might possibly have left the couple plans to alien the adjoining house lot to their eldest son
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Larson stars as Carol Danvers, an air force pilot who’s part Kree (a warrior alien race) and part human, with superhuman powers. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The First Captain Marvel Trailer Teases Brie Larson as Your Next Favorite Superhero," 18 Sep. 2018 But one of the big questions that remains—especially for those hunting for alien life—is whether those planets and their atmospheres could support life. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "We're Recreating Alien Atmospheres on Earth To Search for Life Beyond the Solar System," 20 Dec. 2018 Another image appears almost as if it is plucked from a Gucci campaign: an amphibious alien creature, slathered in hot pink body glitter, sporting an embellished bustier top, silk opera gloves, and a vintage jewel choker necklace. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Charity Kase Is the London Drag Star Whipping Up Fantastical Looks," 5 Sep. 2018 The suggestion that rings and moons are new is, though, made even more interesting by the fact that one of those moons, Enceladus, is widely considered the most promising site in the solar system on which to look for alien life. The Economist, "Saturn’s rings and several of its moons may be recent creations," 22 Mar. 2018 Legendary film designer William Cameron Menzies directed from a kid’s perspective in this tale of a boy who watches friends and parents taken over by an alien life form. John Monaghan, Detroit Free Press, "Sci-fi classics invade the DIA for film series tied to 'Star Wars' exhibit," 7 June 2018 But fans are pointing out that the titular Venom, identifiable by his sinister alien form, rows of sharp teeth and long tongue, is nowhere to be seen in the teaser visuals. Raisa Bruner, Time, "The First Venom Teaser with Tom Hardy Has Arrived and the Internet Is Confused," 8 Feb. 2018 There’s no need to panic, this isn’t the invasion of alien life-forms. Allyson Chiu, Washington Post, "Birth of baby octopus at the Virginia Aquarium viewed by more than 600,000," 8 Feb. 2018 Take Brother Consolmagno’s early work on meteorites, the chunks of alien rock and metal that hit Earth after a meteor burns through the atmosphere. Kyle Peterson, WSJ, "An Astronomer’s View of the Christmas Sky," 21 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The 2006 immigration-reform legislation supported by President George W. Bush provided a comprehensive plan to harden security along the border and provide legal status for the 11 million or so aliens already living in America illegally. Robert M. Gates, WSJ, "To End the Shutdown, Try Thinking Big on Immigration," 18 Jan. 2019 Michael Vlamis as Michael: The last alien who came with Isobel and Max. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything We Know About "Roswell, New Mexico"," 12 Dec. 2018 The family has a long list of stories including lollipop gardens, childhood adventures and brain sucking aliens among others. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Dorothea Winifred Nadeau," 23 Mar. 2018 Despite constant assurances that campus bias is a figment of the right-wing imagination, nothing better illuminates where things stand than the awkward efforts of big-hearted college presidents to connect with their resident ideological aliens. Grant Addison, National Review, "When College Presidents Mistake Lib-splaining for Conservative Outreach," 6 Feb. 2018 Commemorative illustrations of her late dogs Floyd and Emu, miniaturized aliens on her fingers, and even an avocado on the back of her left arm. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Miley Cyrus Proves Why Peekaboo Tattoos and a Dazzling Party Dress Are the Perfect Match," 14 Dec. 2018 Speaking of aliens, Emily and Timothy might not be from planet Earth either. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "13 “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” Fan Theories That Might Predict What Is Ahead," 1 Nov. 2018 Aside from the nostalgia, the trailer also gives us a taste of her air force days, her time on Hala's (a Kree planet) military Starforce, and a looming threat from the Skrulls (shape-shifting aliens). Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The First Captain Marvel Trailer Teases Brie Larson as Your Next Favorite Superhero," 18 Sep. 2018 There’s all kinds of conspiracy theories online about lots of different things, including from aliens to alligators in the toilet, things like that. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Your phone is not secretly spying on your conversations. It doesn’t need to.," 20 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The objects, their controllers, and their motivations could utterly alien and unknowable. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "That Time the U.S. Navy Had a Close Encounter With a UFO," 18 Dec. 2017 Alien is a horror movie on a spaceship, to which Aliens adds space marines. Charlie Jane Anders, WIRED, "Alien: Covenant Proves ‘Franchise Fatigue’ Really Means ‘Boring Movies’," 19 May 2017 The answer, in any case, can only be the Giger alien itself, a contribution to the pantheon of modern design up there with the Coca-Cola logo and the Nike swoosh. A. O. Scott, New York Times, "Review: ‘Alien: Covenant’ Stays on Brand With Its Terror," 17 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alien.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of alien

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alien

Adjective, Noun, and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin alienus, from alius other

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about alien

Dictionary Entries near alien

alicyclic

Alid

alidade

alien

alienable

alienage

alienate

Statistics for alien

Last Updated

13 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alien

The first known use of alien was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for alien

alien

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of alien

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not familiar or like other things you have known : different from what you are used to
: from another country
: too different from something to be acceptable or suitable

alien

noun

English Language Learners Definition of alien (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who was born in a different country and is not a citizen of the country in which he or she now lives
: a creature that comes from somewhere other than the planet Earth

alien

adjective
\ ˈā-lē-ən , ˈāl-yən\

Kids Definition of alien

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : different from what is familiar Keeping their hands clean was an alien idea to the young boys.
2 : from another country and not a citizen of the country of residence : foreign an alien resident
3 : from somewhere other than the planet earth an alien spaceship

alien

noun

Kids Definition of alien (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a resident who was born elsewhere and is not a citizen of the country in which he or she now lives
2 : a being that comes from somewhere other than the planet earth

alien

adjective
\ ˈā-lē-ən, ˈāl-yən \

Legal Definition of alien

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: relating, belonging, or owing allegiance to another country or government

alien

noun

Legal Definition of alien (Entry 2 of 3)

: a foreign-born resident who has not been naturalized and is still a subject or citizen of a foreign country illegal aliens an alien lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residenceU.S. Code

Legal Definition of alien (Entry 3 of 3)

History and Etymology for alien

Adjective

Latin alienus not one's own, foreign

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on alien

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alien

Spanish Central: Translation of alien

Nglish: Translation of alien for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alien for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about alien

Comments on alien

What made you want to look up alien? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

irregularly rounded

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!