1. I want to have a foreigner friend.
  2. I want to have a foreign friend.

Is it correct to say foreigner friend?

  • 2
    I'll mention it could be slightly impolite or abrasive to refer to someone as a "foreigner". It's not a very common noun to use in English, and there's a tendency for people who do use it to be doing so in sentences like "I can't believe they're letting all these foreigners come in and take our jobs". You might prefer to say "I'd like to make friends with someone from another country." or something like that. Jul 24, 2015 at 17:05
  • 1
    @HostileFork Sigh. The list of words that people find offensive continues to grow, I guess. Pretty soon the only word we'll be allowed to use is "of".
    – Jay
    Jul 24, 2015 at 18:35
  • 4
    @Jay That's on the list, too. Why do you think they call it OF-fensive? Jul 24, 2015 at 19:53

1 Answer 1


Foreigner is a noun, foreign is an adjective. While either example would be understood, "foreign friend" is correct.

If you wanted to use "foreigner", you could say

My friend, who is a foreigner

Though this will convey that not only are they from another place, but that they haven't assimilated to local culture. "Foreign friend" implies that they are from somewhere else, regardless of their cultural inclinations.

  • Are you sure that foreigner friend is really incorrect? I hear this kind of construction a lot. "My banker friend says interest rates are going up." I bet it has a name. It's almost a noun adjunct, but I think not quite. Jul 24, 2015 at 23:58
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    It could be, as with many constructs in English its defined by its usage. It could be that @HostileFork pointed out, "foreigner" is often used pejoratively (at least in AmE). Now that you mention it, I wouldn't say "foreigner friend" is incorrect but I would choose almost any other way of saying it. This is deeply connotative though, perhaps in other English-speaking countries there's less weight to the word.
    – Will
    Jul 25, 2015 at 0:16
  • Asked on English.SE: english.stackexchange.com/questions/262197/… Jul 25, 2015 at 0:16
  • @NateEldredge - Good point about noun adjuncts, but I think it's worth noting that foreigner has an adjective form in foreign; banker doesn't really have an associated adjective, so we don't really have a choice anyway.
    – stangdon
    May 12, 2016 at 19:05

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