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Law a person who is neither party nor privy to a transaction
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


any person who is within a group or society but not entirely of that group of society. SIMMEL (Wolff. 1950) suggests three aspects of the social position of the stranger which define it in sociological terms:
  1. the position of the individual on the margin, part inside and part outside the group (see also MARGINALITY);
  2. a particular combination of remoteness and proximity (or SOCIAL DISTANCE) between the stranger and group members;
  3. various further implications of the ROLE of the stranger and his or her interactions with the group which make this position of particular sociological interest.

    A key feature of the role of the stranger identified by Simmel is the relative ‘detachment’ and ‘objectivity’ which he or she may bring, e.g. in settling disputes. This arises, according to Simmel, because the stranger ‘imports qualities into the group which do not stem from the group’. This explains why the stranger also often meets with surprising openness and confidences. All of this applies, notwithstanding that strangers who arrive in large numbers, with their own cultures and groups, will often be mistrusted and may become persecuted members of the societies which they enter. However, even the individual stranger may become mistrusted, and be seen as a possible threat to group beliefs, e.g. in situations where his or her own ‘vested interest’ may be involved (see Schermer, 1988).

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000

What does it mean when you dream about a stranger?

From a Freudian perspective, a stranger in a dream may symbolize meeting a part of one’s own psyche, or shadow self. According to an ancient Chinese belief, a stranger in one’s dream is another soul from the spirit realm.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


(aerospace engineering)
In air intercept, an unidentified aircraft, bearing, distance, and altitude as indicated relative to an aircraft.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


The interpretation of seeing and interacting with a stranger, or strangers, in your dream depends on the details of your dream and on your personal belief system. Some Eastern cultures believe that the strangers in your dreams are spirits from another dimension. These spirits may be teaching you lessons or giving you specific messages. The more modern approach to interpreting a dream with strangers in it suggests they represent different sides or unfamiliar aspects of our personality. The best way to tell is to “check inside” and simply try to understand the message of this dream. Whether the message is coming from your unconscious or from a different reality might be irrelevant. The lessons gained through a dream are far more important then where they came from. Just remember:The mind that dreamt the dream also knows its source and meaning (and that is YOUR own mind).
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in classic literature ?
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.
OEDIPUS And think you he will have such care or thought For the blind stranger as to come himself?
"Ay, marry, that will I abide thy coming, and joyously, too," quoth the stranger; whereupon he leaned sturdily upon his staff to await Robin.
"We have had enough foolishness," said the stranger to Malbihn.
STRANGER. But I mean not only three names, but Three Dimensions.
I surmise you also are quits?" he continued, turning to the stranger with a twinkling eye.
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.
"Aha!" said the stranger, quickly, and cocking his eye at me.
"Indeed, sir," continued the stranger, more calm than ever; "well, that is perfectly right!" and turning on his heel, was about to re-enter the hostelry by the front gate, beneath which D'Artagnan on arriving had observed a saddled horse.
The two women looked at this person whose presence they had entirely forgotten, and retired; but, as she left the apartment, Julie gave the stranger a supplicating glance, to which he replied by a smile that an indifferent spectator would have been surprised to see on his stern features.
Bumble had quite dignity enough for two; supposing even that the stranger had been more familiar: so he drank his gin-and-water in silence, and read the paper with great show of pomp and circumstance.
'Here, waiter!' shouted the stranger, ringing the bell with tremendous violence, 'glasses round--brandy-and-water, hot and strong, and sweet, and plenty,--eye damaged, Sir?