stranger

1 of 3

noun

strang·​er ˈstrān-jər How to pronounce stranger (audio)
1
: one who is strange: such as
a(1)
(2)
: a resident alien
b
: one in the house of another as a guest, visitor, or intruder
c
: a person or thing that is unknown or with whom one is unacquainted
d
: one who does not belong to or is kept from the activities of a group
e
: one not privy or party to an act, contract, or title : one that interferes without right
2
: one ignorant of or unacquainted with someone or something

stranger

2 of 3

adjective

: of, relating to, or being a stranger : foreign

stranger

3 of 3

verb

strangered; strangering; strangers

Examples of stranger in a Sentence

Noun Children are taught not to talk to strangers. He is a complete stranger to me. “Excuse me. Do you know where the library is?” “I'm sorry. I'm a stranger here myself.” I'm a stranger to the area.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Tejano music filled the room where, propped against the front of her table, stood a conspicuous object: A 4-foot sheet metal cross, gifted by a stranger in the days after Lopez-Galvan, at 43, was killed at Union Station in a spray of bullets at the Chiefs’ Super Bowl rally on Valentine’s Day. Eric Adler, Kansas City Star, 29 Mar. 2024 Lashing out on behalf of a dog can have the effect of diminishing the human on the other side of the screen—dropping a foster dog off at their new home is difficult enough without a Greek chorus of internet strangers harassing you. Caroline Mimbs Nyce, The Atlantic, 28 Mar. 2024 Within the last 10 days, several young, female victims have posted on TikTok about the terrifying moments when they were approached by strangers and hit. Pilar Arias, Fox News, 28 Mar. 2024 The arrest comes during a week in which several women have said on TikTok that they have been randomly attacked by a stranger — specifically hit in the face — while on the street. Samira Asma-Sadeque, Peoplemag, 27 Mar. 2024 One day, the stranger asks why Wang never puts up much of a fight. Chang Che, The New Yorker, 26 Mar. 2024 Whether her character is raising awareness around a town-wide health risk or slaying strangers for the sake of love, Pedretti pushes beyond the confines of the nurturing role — and has fun with it too. Kalia Richardson, Rolling Stone, 25 Mar. 2024 On my field trip to Beverly Hills, smelling strangers was just one objective. Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2024 Related Articles Miss Manners: A stranger at the restaurant tried to use me to teach manners to her kids Engage the services of a nutritionist who can design an eating plan for you. Harriette Cole, The Mercury News, 14 Mar. 2024
Adjective
Among the stranger items sold at the store through the years, according to Myers: Benches from dugouts. Erin Couch, The Enquirer, 28 Jan. 2024 This year, the most exciting books avoid these ho-hum recent trends in favor of stranger pleasures, daring memoir, and the ruthless re-zhuzhing of classic American lit. Vulture, 2 Jan. 2024 The more experts learned, the stranger pterosaurs became. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Sep. 2023 In that one split second, some stranger looks at you, locks onto you and really sees you. James Brown, USA TODAY, 16 Apr. 2023 Participants overwhelmingly preferred their own bears over the standard and stranger bears. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 25 Mar. 2023 That’s a tall task, but this is March, and stranger things have happened. Lindsay Schnell, USA TODAY, 3 Mar. 2023 There are some stranger allegations too — including that Lee Soo-Man forced the K-Pop group Aespa to incorporate pro-environmental messages into their music, leading to long delays in a new project from the group. Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2023 Recently, things have also gotten considerably stranger. Jacob Stern, The Atlantic, 9 Jan. 2023
Verb
She will be passed from stranger to stranger for the next two years—foster homes, shelters, juvenile detention. Alex Mar, Rolling Stone, 25 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stranger.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English straunger, straungier "foreigner, alien, unfamiliar person, outsider," borrowed from Anglo-French estranger, estraunger "outsider, foreigner, unfamiliar person" (as adjective) "not related by blood, foreign" (also continental Middle French estrangier), from estrange "foreign, strange entry 1" + -er, -ier -er entry 2

Adjective

from attributive use of stranger entry 1

Verb

derivative of stranger entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1606, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stranger was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near stranger

Cite this Entry

“Stranger.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stranger. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

stranger

noun
strang·​er
ˈstrān-jər
1
: one who is strange
2
a
c
: a person with whom or a thing with which one is unacquainted

Legal Definition

stranger

noun
strang·​er
: someone who is not a party or in privity with a party (as to a contract or legal action)
may be enforced against a stranger to the contract

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