In ordinary use chiefly applied to those who speak a foreign language as their native tongue; thus in England the term is not commonly understood to include Americans. [OED]
In American English from 1620s through mid-19c., however, it was used of a person from a different colony or state. Earlier as a noun in English was simple foreign (early 14c.), probably from Old French, which used the adjective as a noun meaning "foreigner;" also "outskirts; the outside world; latrine, privy." Spelling furriner, representing pronunciation, is from 1832, originally in Irish dialect pieces but by 1840s picked up by American dialect writers (Thomas Chandler Haliburton).
term for a European or Anglo-American, 1847, from American Spanish gringo "foreigner," from Spanish gringo "foreign speech, unintelligible talk, gibberish," perhaps ultimately from griego "Greek." The "Diccionario Castellano" (1787) says gringo was used in Malaga for "anyone who spoke Spanish badly," and in Madrid for "the Irish." Hence the American Spanish verb engringarse "to act like a foreigner."
late 14c., "unknown person, foreigner," from strange + -er (1) or else from Old French estrangier "foreigner" (Modern French étranger), from estrange. Latin used the adjective extraneus as a noun to mean "stranger." The English noun never picked up the secondary sense of the adjective. As a form of address to an unknown person, it is recorded from 1817, American English rural colloquial. Meaning "one who has stopped visiting" is recorded from 1520s.
"foreigner, citizen of a foreign land," early 14c., from alien (adj.) or from noun use of the adjective in French and Latin. In the science fiction sense "being from another planet," from 1953.
also Walach, one of a Rumanian people, 1786, from German Wallache, from Old Church Slavonic Vlachu, from Old High German wahl "foreigner, one speaking a foreign language" (see Vlach). Related: Wallachia; Wallachian.
"member of a Latin-speaking race of the Balkans, a Walachian or Rumanian," 1841, from Bulgarian vlakh or Serbian vlah, from Old Church Slavonic vlakhu, a Slavic adoptation of Germanic *walh (source of Old English wealh) "foreigner," especially applied to Celts and Latins (see Welsh).
c. 1300, "strange, foreign," from Old French alien "strange, foreign;" as a noun, "an alien, stranger, foreigner," from Latin alienus "of or belonging to another, not one's own, foreign, strange," also, as a noun, "a stranger, foreigner," adjective from alius (adv.) "another, other, different" (from PIE root *al- (1) "beyond").
The meaning "residing in a country not of one's birth" is from mid-15c. The sense of "wholly different in nature" is from 1670s. The meaning "not of this Earth" is recorded by 1920. An alien priory (mid 15c.) is one owing obedience to a religious jurisdiction in a foreign country.
"one versed in the Chinese language or Chinese culture and history," 1814; see Sino- + -logy + -ist. Sinology as "branch of knowledge that deals with the Chinese language and related subjects" is by 1834. Related: Sinological. Sinologue (1853) was "a foreigner who is versed in the Chinese language or Chinese culture and history."
late 15c., "uncultured, uncivilized, unpolished," from French barbarique (15c.), from Latin barbaricus "foreign, strange, outlandish," from Greek barbarikos "like a foreigner," from barbaros "foreign, rude" (see barbarian (n.)). The meaning "pertaining to or characteristic of barbarians" is from 1660s. Related: Barbarically.
late 15c., from French hostile "of or belonging to an enemy" (15c.) or directly from Latin hostilis "of an enemy, belonging to or characteristic of the enemy; inimical," from hostis, in earlier use "a stranger, foreigner," in classical use "an enemy," from PIE root *ghos-ti- "stranger, guest, host." The noun meaning "hostile person" is recorded from 1838, American English, a word from the Indian wars. Related: Hostilely.