Definition of alien in English:

alien

adjective

  • 1Belonging to a foreign country.

    ‘an alien culture’
    • ‘Would it matter if they were from poverty-stricken foreign lands, steeped in other religions and alien cultures?’
    • ‘Reformation and reconstruction of an alien culture are a daunting task.’
    • ‘It's such an alien culture to our own in so many ways that I find it incredibly fascinating.’
    • ‘You have Americans, working in an alien culture, travelling with armed men and using translators.’
    • ‘On her first visit to India, Justina's creative mind soon got down to depicting her perceptions of a new land and an alien culture.’
    • ‘These ‘vagabonds and outcasts’ came with an alien culture and a tendency to upheaval.’
    • ‘Hitler had ordained the Final Solution for lesser races and alien faiths.’
    • ‘As cultists, this group also think their god wants them garbed in the clobber of another age and an alien culture.’
    • ‘For right-wing politicians, this commodification is associated with an invasive, alien, foreign culture.’
    • ‘How is it that we are dominated by an alien culture and religion, and even alter our laws to accommodate the practices of others?’
    • ‘This is to familiarise the hosts with the latest fads in styling and lifestyles and an alien culture.’
    • ‘It's easy to see why as it covers familiar territory of a disillusioned white man seeking redemption in his respect and defence of an alien culture.’
    • ‘Despite numerous campaigns among players and fans to try and tackle racism, the game is still submerged in a sea of stereotypes about foreigners and alien cultures.’
    • ‘A Catholic in a Protestant land, many regarded her as a foreign queen with an alien religion.’
    • ‘So it's not just the children of today who are being wooed and won by alien thinking and cultures, but many of our adults are hopelessly lost.’
    • ‘This is blundering on foreign soil in an alien culture which they fail to grasp and arrogantly underestimate and they will ultimately pay the price of their ignorance.’
    • ‘What is this alien culture that threatens to infect Anglo-Americans?’
    • ‘The presentation brought alive the history, art and music of Russia, stimulating interest in alien culture.’
    • ‘The moment one of the partners is expected to give up their beliefs and to fit in with an alien culture against their will, we no longer have a healthy marriage.’
    • ‘But if anyone in Selby is genuinely concerned about being overwhelmed by alien cultures no one was saying so yesterday.’
    • ‘Despite the alien culture, I felt remarkably at home in Nepal, and as I flew over the Himalayas it was with sadness that I glimpsed their silent magnitude for the last time.’
    foreign, overseas, non-native, external, distant, remote
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    1. 1.1 (of a plant or animal species) introduced from another country and later naturalized.
      ‘many food chains are based upon alien plants’
      • ‘The controversy over trout introductions has come to focus much of the current awareness on the impact of alien species both plant and animal.’
      • ‘The invasion of alien tree species has seriously impacted many natural forest ecosystems around the world.’
      • ‘In this context the issue of alien plant and animal species becomes problematic.’
      • ‘He urged gardeners to avoid the use of exotic plants and not to plant alien flowers out in the wild or along hedgerows.’
      • ‘It is well known that the introductions of alien species have wreaked havoc on indigenous fauna and flora worldwide.’
      foreign, non-native, tropical
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  • 2Unfamiliar and disturbing or distasteful.

    ‘principles that are alien to them’
    ‘they found the world of further education a little alien’
    • ‘It really is the case that language is a foreign substance whose alien presence in our soul is both necessary and troubling.’
    • ‘For example, much of what the filmmaker does is unknown or alien to the audience.’
    • ‘They converse in strange tongues, using words and expressions that are totally alien to me.’
    • ‘Does this just feel entirely and completely alien to you?’
    • ‘The case was referred to higher authority for instructions, since it was so rare and so unusual and so incomprehensible and in a word, so alien to the Chinese mindset.’
    • ‘Tarkovsky's spirituality is profoundly alien to the west's dualism: it is earthly, earthy, as cool and clear and material as the water his camera spends so long dwelling upon.’
    • ‘To be fair to O'Driscoll, this role was alien to him and the other team's central defenders were big and strong and took no prisoners.’
    • ‘And the weather, so unpredictable in Melbourne at this time of the year, was cool, cloudy and therefore even more alien to the Englishman's style.’
    • ‘The article about our town in the tabloid on Sunday week last was negativity through and through, depicting a picture of Dungarvan that certainly is alien to me.’
    • ‘Their hopes, wishes, fears, and aspirations were not ours; their beliefs, tastes, and customs were alien to us.’
    • ‘By forming this non-political movement, the members would not be made strange or alien to power.’
    • ‘Everything in it that she had once seen every day now seemed so foreign and alien, like none of these things had ever belonged to her.’
    • ‘Perhaps it might seem alien to someone unfamiliar with comics.’
    • ‘These experiences are turned into snapshots of worlds that are normally utterly alien to the West, yet become entirely understandable with Kapuscinski as guide.’
    • ‘Drug taking is alien to most of us in society, and the photograph did show the stereotypical ‘drug taking’ scene; but is drug taking really so alien to the streets of York?’
    • ‘He insists more than his teacher that we recognize the physical presence of elements that are alien to canvas, yet takes extra care to make that presence ambiguous.’
    • ‘The geography was utterly alien to Patrick, although his unfamiliarity with the picture could have been attributed to the gaps.’
    • ‘It reminds me that nothing human is alien to the Church.’
    • ‘The ones I saw were being guarded, not by Americans, but by brown-skinned soldiers, men of their own size and race, incongruous in alien boots and uniforms.’
    • ‘In fact, the whole act of writing anything at all feels rather strange and alien to me now.’
    unfamiliar, unknown, unheard of, foreign
    incompatible with, unusual for, opposed to, conflicting with, contrary to, adverse to, in conflict with, at variance with, antagonistic to
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  • 3Supposedly from another world; extraterrestrial.

    ‘alien beings’
    ‘an alien spacecraft’
    • ‘One third accepted lucky numbers and 30 percent felt that some UFOs were alien spacecraft.’
    • ‘Years ago I used to drink with a chap, sensible in most respects, who was unwaveringly certain of the existence of advanced alien races.’
    • ‘Either the eyewitness saw an alien spacecraft or he's a liar.’
    • ‘Darryl said he wouldn't be surprised if they also found an alien spacecraft in that cave.’
    • ‘Imagine that an alien race, one that has never had contact with the human race, discovers the following items.’
    • ‘General Arthur Exon plus many others suggest this is most likely the crash site of an alien space craft.’
    • ‘The fact is, there is no consistent relationship between education and belief that UFOs are alien aircraft.’
    • ‘The urge to laugh is almost overwhelming as the enticing conspiracy theory degenerates into ranting about reptiles and an alien race plotting to take over the world.’
    • ‘The first public announcements from our new alien overlords were supposed to have already occurred.’
    • ‘Darryl is convinced that one day they will unearth the alien mothership completely intact.’
    • ‘How does any of us as a human being know how an alien race would think?’
    • ‘As stated above, he claims that there is a tunnel on the Moon through which alien spacecraft can pass.’
    • ‘The energy signature belonged to an alien probe that had detected the warp emissions from the warp drive tests.’
    • ‘The thought of first contact with an alien race only through their artifacts is one that is close to the heart of science fiction.’
    • ‘In other episodes, characters are inhabited by alien consciousnesses, or surgically altered so that they resemble other, alien races.’
    • ‘King's program didn't merely advance the notion that an alien spacecraft crashed at Roswell in 1947.’
    • ‘The inner workings of alien spacecraft are at last revealed!’
    • ‘He claimed the thing was some type of alien spacecraft.’
    • ‘Some believe that the crop designs are messages from alien spacecraft.’
    • ‘Carr is a hero in the UFO literature, but his stories of flying saucers and alien creatures were all delusions.’
    extraterrestrial, other-worldly, unearthly
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noun

  • 1A foreigner, especially one who is not a naturalized citizen of the country where he or she is living.

    ‘an enemy alien’
    • ‘It would also make it harder for illegal aliens to seek political asylum.’
    • ‘The Parliament cannot directly impose punishment on anyone, on aliens or on citizens.’
    • ‘There is more grumbling among Americans that illegal aliens should be deported and the borders fully closed.’
    • ‘From an economic and legal standpoint illegal aliens have to be stopped.’
    • ‘The Scots and the Irish living in Gaelic parts were aliens, and frequently enemies to the crown.’
    • ‘The concession should not be extended to SADC citizens as this would open a loophole for illegal aliens.’
    • ‘One must assume that a significant portion of these are illegal aliens.’
    • ‘One assumes it's a sincere position against illegal aliens and illegal immigration.’
    • ‘If she hadn't become a citizen then she would have turned into an enemy alien when the United States joined the war.’
    • ‘I'll be talking with a leading senator who has a plan to legalize millions of illegal aliens in this country.’
    • ‘In almost all cases, U.S. law precluded Japanese aliens from becoming U.S. citizens.’
    • ‘Because he's actually not a citizen, but an illegal alien, Valle is now detained in preparation for deportation.’
    • ‘And so we have another example of the general disregard for laws pertaining to illegal aliens.’
    • ‘The prohibition is clear and unambiguous, and admits of no distinction between treatment of aliens and citizens.’
    • ‘It was a way of reaffirming that they are aliens, not citizens.’
    • ‘That would mean any non-U.S. citizen, even an illegal alien, would be allowed to vote if that person has a child in the public school system.’
    • ‘So is the Court right or has it been right in drawing a distinction between aliens and citizens?’
    • ‘He was already targeting citizens, not only aliens, from the very beginning of his career.’
    • ‘If one cannot identify an actual immigrant from an illegal alien, the record review has to be problematic.’
    • ‘When people crossed their threshold they felt like aliens or foreigners.’
    foreigner, foreign national, non-native, immigrant, emigrant, émigré, incomer, newcomer, visitor, outsider, stranger
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    1. 1.1 A plant or animal species originally introduced from another country and later naturalized.
      • ‘Invasive aliens, mainly weeping willows, which are the dominant species at the dam, were eradicated.’
      • ‘These aliens created too much shade for prairie plants that need full sunlight to survive.’
      • ‘I am very much aware of the threat posed by invasive aliens, of all kinds, to our indigenous fauna and flora.’
      • ‘Ordinarily, scientists gauge environmental impacts by comparing before-and-after data on species in a region invaded by an alien.’
      • ‘What makes them aliens is that they have been introduced into sea areas where they would not normally live.’
      • ‘They caution that the impact of these aliens on other marine life has yet to be established.’
  • 2A hypothetical or fictional being from another world.

    ‘she discovers that the alien's spaceship has crashed’
    • ‘On an interstellar penal colony, a group of criminal aliens steal a spaceship and chart a course for Earth.’
    • ‘The little alien waddled past Eric and down the alley.’
    • ‘Giving the credit to aliens is selling your species short.’
    • ‘Under no circumstances make spaceships, dinosaurs, aliens, monsters or fantasy art characters.’
    • ‘Do you have memories of being abducted by aliens and whisked away in a spaceship?’
    • ‘The novel follows the journey of a small group of people who leave our solar system to make contact with these newly discovered aliens.’
    • ‘Their confrontation is disrupted by the arrival of a spaceship filled with various aliens.’
    • ‘Go there and see an awe-inspiring picture of one of the original aliens in its spaceship.’
    • ‘I shiver as I pass the clothes boutiques, where assorted mannequins stare out like different species of plastic aliens.’
    • ‘The best corollary I can find to myself is a fictional television alien!’
    • ‘A lot of people believe they've been abducted by aliens in space ships and taken away and then brought back.’
    • ‘I'm a feminist science fiction critic who is married to an alien.’
    • ‘The kittens are kicking and rolling inside her tummy, they feel like little aliens trying to get out.’
    • ‘The little alien was wrapping itself around him tighter and tighter.’
    • ‘In the child's imagination, fuelled by science-fiction, the aliens are about to land.’
    • ‘Near that town in New Mexico a spaceship of aliens crashed in 1947, some people say.’
    • ‘How will we explain this to the aliens when they land their spaceship here?’
    • ‘When it is dug up it emits the piercing scream, signalling its discovery to the aliens.’
    • ‘When the flying saucer craze began in 1947, aliens were described as little green men.’
    • ‘Reading that he thinks aliens in spaceships brought the DNA that humans came from to earth was enough.’
    extraterrestrial, et
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Origin

Middle English: via Old French from Latin alienus ‘belonging to another’, from alius ‘other’.

Pronunciation

alien

/ˈeɪlɪən/