Definition of foreign in US English:

foreign

adjective

  • 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
    View synonyms
    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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Origin

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.

Pronunciation

foreign

/ˈfɔrən//ˈfôrən/