alien 1 of 3

alien

2 of 3

verb

alien

3 of 3

noun

Synonym Chooser

How is the word alien different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of alien are extraneous, extrinsic, and foreign. While all these words mean "external to a thing, its essential nature, or its original character," alien is stronger than foreign in suggesting opposition, repugnance, or irreconcilability.

a practice totally alien to her nature

In what contexts can extraneous take the place of alien?

The synonyms extraneous and alien are sometimes interchangeable, but 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

When is it sensible to use extrinsic instead of alien?

While in some cases nearly identical to alien, 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

When could foreign be used to replace alien?

The words foreign and alien are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, 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

Thesaurus Entries Near alien

Cite this Entry

“Alien.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/alien. Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on alien

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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