for·​eign | \ ˈfȯr-ən How to pronounce foreign (audio) , ˈfär- \

Definition of foreign

1 : situated outside a place or country especially : situated outside one's own country foreign cities
2 : born in, belonging to, or characteristic of some place or country other than the one under consideration has a large foreign population foreign languages
3 : of, relating to, or proceeding from some other person or material thing than the one under consideration foreign aid
4 : alien in character : not connected or pertinent this design is not foreign from some people's thoughts— Jonathan Swift
5 : related to or dealing with other nations foreign trade
6a : occurring in an abnormal situation in the living body and often introduced from outside a foreign body lodged in the esophagus
b : not recognized by the immune system as part of the self foreign proteins
7 : not being within the jurisdiction of a political unit (such as a state) foreign corporations

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Other Words from foreign

foreignness \ ˈfȯr-​ən-​nəs How to pronounce foreignness (audio) , ˈfär-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for foreign



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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 foreign in a Sentence

They've visited several foreign countries. We don't get many foreign visitors. Have you studied any foreign languages? She has a foreign accent. the ministry of foreign affairs
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Recent Examples on the Web Buzarov, a specialist in Middle East affairs and a consultant to the Ukrainian parliament, had been invited to Iran for an international conference run by the country’s foreign ministry. Washington Post, "Ticket change in Tehran saves Ukrainian’s life," 12 Jan. 2020 North Korea will not give up its nuclear facilities in exchange for partial sanctions relief, and will only return to talks when the U.S. makes concessions, the foreign ministry adviser said Saturday. NBC News, "North Korea says it won't restart nuke talks despite Trump's birthday message to Kim," 11 Jan. 2020 But there was also the separate bizarre episode in 2007 of Andrew selling his old marital home, Sunninghill Park, to a foreign oligarch for £3m more than the asking price. David Mcclure, Town & Country, "How Realistic is Financial Independence for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle?," 11 Jan. 2020 First documented in 1967 at a Colorado research facility, the disease has spread to at least 26 states and several foreign countries. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: In a first, researchers find CWD prions in deer semen," 8 Jan. 2020 My sister @stellahudgens popped out of a box in a foreign country to surprise me for my birthday. Maria Pasquini,, "World Traveler! Vanessa Hudgens Vacations in Switzerland — and Celebrates New Year in Scotland," 31 Dec. 2019 However, Kim’s foreign ministry has again insulted Trump and Kim has set a year-end deadline for the U.S. to make concessions, and especially to loosen the stringent economic sanctions in place, before going back to the negotiating table. Ved Nanda, The Denver Post, "Nanda: Convince Kim Jong Un that America not only can but is willing to use military force," 27 Dec. 2019 Trump has used those 280-character messages to fire members of his administration, announce global tariffs, and troll foreign leaders. USA Today, "Analysis: Trump more negative, prolific on Twitter amid Democratic impeachment inquiry," 23 Dec. 2019 The facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: Speaker Pelosi Is “Never Afraid and Rarely Surprised”," 22 Dec. 2019

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

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First Known Use of foreign

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for foreign

Middle English forein, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin foranus on the outside, from Latin foris outside — more at forum

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Time Traveler for foreign

Time Traveler

The first known use of foreign was in the 13th century

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Statistics for foreign

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Foreign.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

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More Definitions for foreign


How to pronounce foreign (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of foreign

: located outside a particular place or country and especially outside your own country
: coming from or belonging to a different place or country
: relating to or dealing with other nations


for·​eign | \ ˈfȯr-ən How to pronounce foreign (audio) \

Kids Definition of foreign

1 : located outside of a place or country and especially outside of a person's own country a foreign nation
2 : belonging to a place or country other than the one under consideration Do you speak a foreign language?
3 : relating to or having to do with other nations foreign trade
4 : not normally belonging or wanted where found foreign material in food


for·​eign | \ ˈfȯr-ən, ˈfär- How to pronounce foreign (audio) \

Medical Definition of foreign

1 : occurring in an abnormal situation in the living body and often introduced from outside a foreign body lodged in the esophagus
2 : not recognized by the immune system as part of the self foreign proteins

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Legal Definition of foreign

: not being within the jurisdiction of a political unit (as a state) especially : being from or in a state other than the one in which a matter is being considered a foreign company doing business in South Carolina a foreign executor submitting to the jurisdiction of this court a foreign judgment — compare domestic

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More from Merriam-Webster on foreign

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for foreign

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with foreign

Spanish Central: Translation of foreign

Nglish: Translation of foreign for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foreign for Arabic Speakers

Comments on foreign

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


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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