stranger

(redirected from Strangers)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!

a stranger to (someone or something)

1. Literally, someone who has never met someone or been to some place. I was a complete stranger to this country four years ago, but now I feel like I've lived here forever. I have heard her name mentioned by others, but she is a stranger to me.
2. By extension, someone who experience or knowledge of something. Often used in negative constructions. They brought in lawyer who was no stranger to such complex cases. He was a complete stranger to illicit drugs until he was well into his 30s.
See also: stranger

be no stranger to (something)

To be thoroughly experienced in or knowledgeable about something or someone. Don't worry, I'm no stranger to spicy food. They brought in a crack agent who was no stranger to such complex cases.
See also: no, stranger

fact is stranger than fiction

Real life is filled such bizarre, absurd, or unlikely events that it can be hard to believe they are not fictional. A piece of metal that had embedded itself in the patient's abdomen from the accident actually deflected the bullet away from any vital organs. I tell you, sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.
See also: fact, fiction, stranger

little stranger

A baby or very young child that is new to someone's life, especially parents or siblings. The arrival of a new baby is usually a very happy event for most first-time parents, but bringing a little stranger home can also be incredibly overwhelming. Siblings over the age of three have a hard time in particular accepting the little stranger who now takes away the attention from Mommy and Daddy.
See also: little, stranger

no stranger to (something)

Thoroughly experienced in or knowledgeable about something; not encountering something for the first time. Don't worry, I'm no stranger to spicy food. They brought in an agent who was no stranger to such complex cases.
See also: no, stranger

perfect stranger

Someone with whom one has absolutely no previous association. My mom and dad didn't come to see our son until he was nearly three years old, so, to him, they were perfect strangers! She thought it was terribly funny to go up to perfect strangers and begin conversations with them as if they had been lifelong friends.
See also: perfect, stranger

shifty-looking

Having or of an untrustworthy, dubious, or deceptive appearance. There are always a bunch of shifty-looking characters around this part of town at night, so let's not linger! I didn't feel great about the deal when John's shifty-looking business partner came along to sign the papers.

total stranger

Someone with whom one has absolutely no previous association. My mom and dad didn't come to see our son until he was nearly three years old, so, to him, they were total strangers! She thought it was terribly funny to go up to total strangers and begin conversations with them as if they had been lifelong friends.
See also: stranger, total

truth is stranger than fiction

Real life is filled such bizarre, absurd, or unlikely events that it can be hard to believe they are not fictional. A piece of metal that had embedded itself in the patient's abdomen from the accident actually deflected the bullet away from any vital organs. I tell you, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
See also: fiction, stranger, truth

Fact is stranger than fiction,

 and Truth is stranger than fiction.
Prov. Things that really happen are harder to believe or more amazing than stories that people invent. Did you see the story in the newspaper about the criminal who attacks people with a toenail clipper? Fact is stranger than fiction! Jill: I can't believe someone's paying 900 dollars for Tom's broken-down old car—it doesn't even run. Jane: Truth is stranger than fiction.
See also: fact, fiction, stranger

perfect stranger

 and total stranger
Fig. a person who is completely unknown [to oneself]. I was stopped on the street by a perfect stranger who wanted to know my name. If a total stranger asked me such a personal question, I am sure I would not answer!
See also: perfect, stranger

stranger to (something or some place)

someone who is new to an area or place. Although John was a stranger to big cities, he enjoyed visiting New York. You are a stranger to our town, and I hope you feel welcome.
See also: stranger

truth is stranger than fiction

Real life can be more remarkable than invented tales, as in In our two-month trip around the world we ran into long-lost relatives on three separate occasions, proving that truth is stranger than fiction . This expression may have been invented by Byron, who used it in Don Juan (1833).
See also: fiction, stranger, truth

little stranger

a newly born baby. informal
2002 Psychology Today For anyone in the brand new role of caring for a little stranger so totally dependent on their ministrations, the early days of motherhood challenge anyone's sense of competence.
See also: little, stranger

be no/a ˈstranger to something

(formal) be familiar/not familiar with something because you have/have not experienced it many times before: He is no stranger to controversy.
See also: no, something, stranger

ˌtruth is stranger than ˈfiction

(saying) used to say that things that actually happen are often more surprising than stories that are invented
See also: fiction, stranger, truth

depend on the kindness of strangers

A form of self-deception. The phrase comes from Tennessee Williams’s play A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), in which Blanche DuBois, with delusions of grandeur, has a destructive effect on her sister Stella’s marriage to Stanley Kowalski. Stanley rapes her, leading to her nervous breakdown, and commits her to a mental hospital. As the doctor leads her off, she says, “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” The phrase “kindness of strangers” occasionally appears in other contexts, as in “With no rain for a month, my garden depends on the kindness of strangers.” Sue Miller used it in her novel The Lake Shore Limited (2010). Talking about two characters in her play, the playwright said: “Well, you are not Jay . . . a guy who’s betraying his wife. And I’m not Elena. I’m not . . . dependent upon the kindness of strangers.”
See also: depend, kindness, of, on, stranger

truth is stranger than fiction

Facts may be more remarkable than an invented story. The phrase first appeared in Byron’s Don Juan (1823)—“‘Tis strange—but true; for truth is always strange,—stranger than fiction”—and has been repeated ever since, often with ironic variations. Mark Twain had it in Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar (1893), “Truth is stranger than fiction— to some people, but I am measurably familiar with it.” And novelist Margaret Echard wrote, “Truth is not only stranger than fiction but far more interesting” (Before IWake, 1943).
See also: fiction, stranger, truth
References in classic literature ?
As he spoke he went up to Ulysses and saluted him with his right hand; "Good day to you, father stranger," said he, "you seem to be very poorly off now, but I hope you will have better times by and by.
The stranger has already had as large a portion as any one else; this is well, for it is not right nor reasonable to ill-treat any guest of Telemachus who comes here.
STRANGER Nay, 'tis not mine to bid thee hence without Due warrant and instruction from the State.
"We have had enough foolishness," said the stranger to Malbihn.
I surmise you also are quits?" he continued, turning to the stranger with a twinkling eye.
'I see you were not,' said the stranger; and expression of quiet sarcasm playing about his mouth; 'or you have known my name.
Brown paper parcel here, that's all--other luggage gone by water--packing-cases, nailed up--big as houses-- heavy, heavy, damned heavy,' replied the stranger, as he forced into his pocket as much as he could of the brown paper parcel, which presented most suspicious indications of containing one shirt and a handkerchief.
The shoulders of the stranger shook violently, and when he tried to roll a cigarette the paper fell from his trembling fingers.
Then Robin Hood stepped quickly to the coverside and cut a good staff of ground oak, straight, without new, and six feet in length, and came back trimming away the tender stems from it, while the stranger waited for him, leaning upon his staff, and whistling as he gazed round about.
STRANGER. Yes: but in order to see into Space you ought to have an eye, not on your Perimeter, but on your side, that is, on what you would probably call your inside; but we in Spaceland should call it your side.
She played a simple air, and her voice accompanied it in sweet accents, but unlike the wondrous strain of the stranger. The old man appeared enraptured and said some words which Agatha endeavoured to explain to Safie, and by which he appeared to wish to express that she bestowed on him the greatest delight by her music.
"Three Rums!" cried the stranger, calling to the landlord.
"This horse is decidedly, or rather has been in his youth, a buttercup," resumed the stranger, continuing the remarks he had begun, and addressing himself to his auditors at the window, without paying the least attention to the exasperation of D'Artagnan, who, however placed himself between him and them.
The young girl turned pale and continued to descend, while the stranger and Cocles continued to mount the staircase.
He felt a wish to speak to the stranger, but by the time he had made up his mind to ask him a question about the roads, the traveler had closed his eyes.