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estrangement

Estrangement is the feeling that you don't belong, especially when you're surrounded by other people. If you've ever had to sit by yourself in a school cafeteria, you know what estrangement feels like.

Right in the middle of the word estrangement is strange, and it provides a great clue about how to use the word. Estrangement happens when something — or someone — makes you feel like a stranger. It can describe a couple that's split up or the alienation of a former friend. The meaning hasn't changed much from its Latin root, extraneare, "treat as a stranger."

Definitions of estrangement
  1. noun
    separation resulting from hostility
    synonyms: alienation
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    type of:
    isolation
    a state of separation between persons or groups
  2. noun
    the feeling of being alienated from other people
    synonyms: alienation, disaffection
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    types:
    isolation
    a feeling of being disliked and alone
    type of:
    dislike
    a feeling of aversion or antipathy
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