Definition of foreign in US English:



  • 1Of, from, in, or characteristic of a country or language other than one's own.

    ‘a foreign language’
    • ‘Several years ago, I wrote to the local press concerning the need to teach Spanish as our first foreign language in all schools, but to no avail.’
    • ‘Often students are barely able to use their mother-tongue but yet they are still forced to try to use the foreign language of English.’
    • ‘Thousands of foreigners, with foreign currency and language, needed to have a special market set up.’
    • ‘The picture of foreign languages was less clear with French and German seeing significant falls in interest but more students taking up Spanish.’
    • ‘Some third grade children study at special hagwons in order to get into high schools specializing in foreign languages or science.’
    • ‘They study mythology, gardening, cooking, foreign languages, history, botany and physics.’
    • ‘But who on earth goes with the lead on foreign languages when the story also says that the current exams system is going to be dumped?’
    • ‘But even cutting subjects like music, art and foreign languages has a direct impact on the core subjects.’
    • ‘The extra characters represent characters from foreign languages and special symbols for simple pictures.’
    • ‘He noted for some foreign languages there are too few students signed up to offer the course at an individual high school.’
    • ‘The problem arises is that you character talks gibberish and it sounds like some foreign space language.’
    • ‘And today he's a foreign language major at the University of Central Florida.’
    • ‘Her husband plans to continue working one week a month in Britain, while she has trained to teach English as a foreign language as well as running the guest house.’
    • ‘Even when they are obliged to live abroad for years they refuse either to accustom themselves to foreign food or to learn foreign languages.’
    • ‘It was felt to be most appropriate for practical subjects, such as design and technology, and least helpful in the case of maths and foreign languages.’
    • ‘My father was a foreign language major at Yenching University.’
    • ‘My life has been spent pretty equally between the two countries, and I flatter myself I speak both languages without any foreign accent.’
    • ‘I can even do it in foreign language script and characters such as Japanese and Arabic.’
    • ‘Nearly all books are in Chinese, except in Shanghai and Beijing, where foreign language books are also available.’
    • ‘And a beautiful thing, for me, was that most spoke with foreign accents and in foreign languages.’
    overseas, distant, remote, far off, far flung, external, outside
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    1. 1.1 Dealing with or relating to other countries.
      ‘foreign policy’
      • ‘Len Downey, will this tragedy change the way you deploy your foreign correspondents and the kind of risks that they will take?’
      • ‘That's something that I have felt was in order for a long time on foreign policy, and now I think he has a clear chance of doing that.’
      • ‘I think that, ultimately though, that's there a genuine difference as to how we operate our foreign policy.’
      • ‘Well, I don't take polls in politics now, so I certainly wouldn't be taking polls in foreign policy.’
      • ‘The bad news didn't end with the foreign policy.’
      • ‘A treaty dealt with frontier issues and declared that Tibet was to have no dealings with foreign powers without Britain's consent.’
      • ‘Taubman recounts all of his subject's most significant dealings, both in terms of foreign and domestic policy.’
      • ‘No. Are they offering us a new foreign policy or another way of dealing with dictators and terrorists?’
      • ‘A lot of political operatives and pollsters will tell you this presidential election will hinge on foreign policy.’
      • ‘And I love foreign policy, because of the adventure and because of the stakes.’
      • ‘But it was only recently, after the end of the Cold War, that we began letting the vice squad run foreign policy.’
      • ‘If blame were to be justly apportioned, it would have to extend into the distant past of American foreign policy formation.’
      • ‘We've got a great new younger generation of foreign correspondents.’
      • ‘Lawyers and those dealing with foreign affairs have a smooth week ahead.’
      • ‘To truly understand America's foreign policy during the past 12 years, one must look at more than wars.’
      • ‘He was trying to bring the announcement, the pronunciation of honesty and truth to American and world foreign policy.’
      • ‘Such epistemological conundrums are not limited to foreign policy.’
      • ‘To listen to his high-level critics, one might think that no American president had ever proposed an interventionist foreign policy before.’
      • ‘You gave the president kind of a mixed grade on foreign policy.’
      • ‘Speaking about foreign policy, he is also eager to prove himself as a very open man, as a man who will be very active in his dialogue with the West.’
    2. 1.2 Of or belonging to another district or area.
      • ‘Yet these are precisely the areas where foreign students make the biggest contribution to American society.’
      • ‘He gave only vague answers to questions on the alleged presence of foreign troops in combat areas such as Sulu Island.’
      • ‘The central business district is a diverse area of retail, financial and foreign companies.’
      • ‘In the first place most of the opium at Lintin did not belong to the foreign merchants in India, and they had no legal right to surrender it.’
      • ‘The report also said that the lack of broadband lines outside large urban areas was hampering foreign investment in the regions.’
      • ‘Wilson, who was 30 when he died, may have had dealings with foreign businesses and investors early in his career when he was based in Edinburgh.’
      • ‘Capital hedging has been identified as one of the biggest areas of concern by foreign bankers.’
      • ‘The explosions occurred simultaneously late last night among areas popular with foreign tourists.’
      • ‘But that has still left many gray areas, especially for foreign investors seeking joint venture partners.’
      • ‘But the society is regaining its vigor, with relatively safe areas attracting foreign tourists.’
      • ‘Consider partnering with foreign distributors or sales reps, for example.’
      • ‘The regency's plan to fight the move has gained support from 200 industrial firms in the area that employ foreign workers.’
      • ‘The estate is now back to its original 80,000 acres - the largest area owned by a foreign citizen in the United Kingdom.’
      • ‘To foreign dominions, which belong to a prince who succeeds to the throne of England, this Court has no power to send any writ of any kind.’
      • ‘A central pot to pay for healthcare for foreign visitors had been distributed to local health services on the basis of historic payments.’
      • ‘Resistance fighters have frequently targeted foreign planes in the area, which is an insurgent stronghold.’
      • ‘The park has also meant a significant tourism boost to the West Kildare area with Irish and foreign tourists coming in increasing numbers.’
      • ‘Other models may have been sold in Canada if a retailer bought them from foreign distributors.’
      • ‘Then I did distribution for foreign films in Japan, mainly gay films.’
      • ‘One foreign family in the area had actively participated in the festivities since they arrived last year.’
    3. 1.3 Coming or introduced from outside.
      ‘the quotation is a foreign element imported into the work’
      • ‘She struggled in vain against the darkness surrounding her, but the pain of a foreign element inside her prevented it.’
      • ‘I don't think that it is a good idea to introduce any foreign substance that could adversely affect the development of a baby without a very compelling reason.’
      • ‘Electroporation is a common method to introduce foreign molecules into cells, but its molecular basis is poorly understood.’
      • ‘They are the unwanted foreign element, that which is abnormal in comparison to the protagonist's normal state.’
      • ‘Lawyers protested that it would expose clients to unreasonable pressure, and introduce a foreign element into the court.’
      • ‘I carefully surveyed the area for footprints, foreign items and so on, then photographed the scene.’
      • ‘The result is a wonderful collage of elements, both foreign and indigenous to the peninsula.’
      • ‘The process was helped, after the mid-sixteenth century, by the arrival of a new foreign element.’
      • ‘Now introduce two types of foreign elements - lets say bacteria and viruses.’
      • ‘Some of the implant techniques introduced foreign material into the body, with occasionally horrifying results.’
      • ‘At any time, simply by looking at our hand or our leg, one can experience the feeling that our body does not belongs to us, that it is a foreign object, outside ourselves.’
      • ‘And that means food without all the weird foreign genes running around in it.’
      • ‘This label encompasses processes such as deleting a gene from or introducing a foreign gene into a plant's DNA.’
      • ‘They mix and match a wide range of disparate foreign elements to create a melting pot of human and mechanical voices, jingles, sounds and samples.’
      • ‘The body possesses an innate tendency to reject and destroy any foreign material introduced into it.’
      • ‘The earpiece of the Symbolic Order introduces something foreign into his head - it is language.’
    4. 1.4 (of a law or restriction) outside the local jurisdiction.
      • ‘These would be cases in which foreign law was incorporated into American law.’
      • ‘In Part 4 the bill adds all the evidential rules relating to foreign judgments and foreign laws.’
      • ‘I'd be very interested to hear from proponents of citing or relying on foreign law about the answers to these questions.’
      • ‘If judges begin citing foreign law as non-mandatory, how long will it be before they begin using it to decide cases?’
      • ‘He is not authorised to receive any evidence of foreign law, unless such evidence is relevant to the question whether the offence is one of a political character.’
      • ‘Those who draw on foreign laws and precedents tend to use them selectively, when it suits their purposes.’
      • ‘It is not unheard of to have an action tried in a jurisdiction which applies foreign law.’
      • ‘Elsewhere in his testimony, Roberts criticized the importation of foreign law.’
      • ‘I would say, as a general matter, that there are a couple of things that cause concern on my part about the use of foreign law as precedent.’
      • ‘A judge's job is to interpret the law, not make it up by pouring foreign law into our constitutional jurisprudence.’
      • ‘The foreign law is treated as a question of fact.’
      • ‘Now, I've read the whole text of the speech, which is mostly justifying his bill to bar courts from citing foreign law.’
      • ‘It is clear that in the absence of proof of a foreign law our courts will apply the lex fori, the law of Ontario.’
      • ‘It is a matter of perhaps not daily, but certainly regular occurrence that experts on foreign law are called in such situations.’
      • ‘The foreign laws seem a perfectly reasonable expression of sovereignty, and ones that we should respect.’
      • ‘In my view, the reliance of foreign law and practice is a symptom of the Court's problem, not the problem itself.’
      • ‘Here's what Breyer said, in the course of justifying the practice of citing foreign law.’
      • ‘Why are we using foreign law: to enhance the legitimacy of our decisions within the U.S. or to the rest of the world?’
      • ‘To be sure, the analogy between foreign law as authority and the Bible as authority isn't perfect.’
      • ‘But, as with his reference to changes in domestic law, his survey of foreign law is highly selective.’
  • 2Strange and unfamiliar.

    ‘I suppose this all feels pretty foreign to you’
    • ‘Already, the traditional winter is something foreign to many British children.’
    • ‘It isn't an unpleasant sensation, there is no pain to it, but it is so strange and foreign it causes me brief alarm.’
    • ‘She stared at his hand as if it were some strange foreign object and reluctantly shook it.’
    • ‘Yet, aren't new influences that seem foreign and unfamiliar also agents of positive change?’
    • ‘The deeply forgotten greets us as foreign but also makes strange the familiar.’
    • ‘The sunlight seemed strange, foreign somehow, as if filtered through a glass.’
    • ‘We are free and the consciousness of the material world of the senses stands before us as something strange and foreign which no longer wears us down.’
    • ‘We're so used to the idea of the media as something that we're privileged to have, that the idea of it actively coming to us is foreign and strange.’
    • ‘As the metal slices through my wrist, I can only feel the strange, foreign feeling of dizziness.’
    • ‘There is a tendency to regard extremism and reaction within a part of the Muslim community in the west as something intrinsically strange or foreign.’
    • ‘All the plants were strange and unfamiliar, the steamy smells equally foreign.’
    • ‘It was a tough country and the animals and plants in this country were totally foreign to them.’
    • ‘They stand out like the Harbour Bridge in their getups and habits, which are foreign to most Aussies.’
    • ‘It's perfectly natural that it would feel kinda weird and foreign the first time.’
    • ‘Your flashy world of moving pictures and gender equality is strange and foreign to me.’
    • ‘It is regarded as strange and intrinsically foreign.’
    • ‘It was so strange and foreign a concept that the very thought scared me more than anything in my entire period of life.’
    • ‘I got out of this strange and foreign bed to wander into the glass tiled halls filled with black marble.’
    • ‘That was the only word that could describe it, weird, or strange, or unknown, foreign.’
    • ‘It felt too strange, too foreign, like she'd forsaken all of her unknown past.’
    unfamiliar, unknown, unheard of, strange, alien, exotic, outlandish, odd, peculiar, curious, bizarre, weird, queer, funny
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    1. 2.1foreign to Not belonging to or characteristic of.
      ‘crime and brutality are foreign to our nature and our country’
      • ‘Thereafter, when Yohanan came to her, Miriam expressed astonishment at behavior so foreign to his character.’
      • ‘They have tried to persuade society to reject practices that are foreign to Islam.’
      • ‘To deprive someone of their liberty without telling them the charge or the evidence is completely foreign to our system of justice.’
      • ‘We see wood take forms that are completely foreign to it, like a chair that's made with spindles and dowels.’
      • ‘Cowardice is a concept foreign to your very being, and by nature you are something of an adventurer.’
      • ‘They played with a clarity of intention foreign to the home side, an economical set of ideas that were always on the money.’
      • ‘Okay, if politicking based on one's beliefs is foreign to Inuit, why is he doing it right now?’
      • ‘Some commentators believe soccer is fundamentally foreign to the American psyche and will never catch on.’
      • ‘Any use that is not utterly foreign to its character as a motor vehicle is, I consider, covered by the words.’
      • ‘For a voter to be guided only by the fundamentality of human life risks falling into a radicalism that is foreign to the Catholic moral tradition.’
      • ‘The idea of willing mutual submission in love is largely foreign to our minds.’
      • ‘As a matter of style, Buckland and Newton work in a tradition largely foreign to North America.’
      • ‘The so-called New Zealand way of life is becoming increasingly foreign to a growing number.’
      • ‘If we take a look at the human rights history in Indonesia, the issue of human rights should not have been foreign to the country.’
      irrelevant, not pertinent, inappropriate, inapposite, extraneous, unrelated, unconnected
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Middle English foren, forein, from Old French forein, forain, based on Latin foras, foris ‘outside’, from fores ‘door’. The current spelling arose in the 16th century, by association with sovereign.