oth·​er·​ness | \ˈə-t͟hər-nəs \

Definition of otherness 

1 : the quality or state of being other or different

2 : something that is other or different

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Examples of otherness in a Sentence

As an American growing up in Africa, I always felt a sense of otherness. the otherness of their small religious community

Recent Examples on the Web

How did this girl—who is not only of color, but didn’t go to the same schools or universities as the royals, who wasn’t even raised in the U.K., and so has all these points of difference and otherness—get to this place? Afua Hirsch, Time, "What Meghan Markle Means to the World," 17 May 2018 And what of Cher’s otherness, her identity as a second-generation Armenian-American on her father’s side? Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Just belt out 'Believe!' Pre-Broadway 'Cher Show' needs to let the Chers take charge," 28 June 2018 Though not always directly related to the plot, these painterly images cumulatively suggest a land of dreamlike otherness and alien beauty. Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Volcano': Film Review | Karlovy Vary 2018," 13 July 2018 There’s a connection to the Coltrane legacy (to John and Alice), in the ecstatic ambition, but there’s also a connection to Prince in the weirdness of the funk, and to Ennio Morricone, in the scene-setting otherness. John Adamian, courant.com, "From Sam Hunt And Reba To U2 And King X: A Week Of Big-Name Concerts," 23 June 2018 For me, the condiment became synonymous with Russian immigrants—a symbol of our otherness. Flora Tsapovsky, Bon Appetit, "How Mayonnaise Got Its Groove Back," 15 May 2018 The two films explore ideas about otherness, empathy, exile and displacement. Mary Louise Schumacher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A direct line to Milwaukee, a journey to Japan," 27 Apr. 2018 Susan Sarandon sat down with UnREAL star Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman for an illuminating conversation about her feelings of otherness in Hollywood, much of it born from her disavowal of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Mary Kate Carr, EW.com, "Susan Sarandon says she 'alienated' women in Hollywood by not supporting Hillary Clinton," 20 Apr. 2018 Instead the severe beauty, the delicate pattering, the sensuality and then the shocking (though still beautiful) violence of the dance was so mesmerizing that unrelated styles of music intertwined, enhancing the otherness of the other. Mark Swed, latimes.com, "In praise of musical tourism: Huayin Shadow Puppet Band and Cloud Gate Dance Theatre," 20 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'otherness.' 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 otherness

1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for otherness

Last Updated

1 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for otherness

The first known use of otherness was in 1587

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English Language Learners Definition of otherness

: the quality of being different or unusual

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Comments on otherness

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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