Interloper / Intruder


Senior Member
Hello. I would like to know which word is a better choice in the following sentence.

"She felt like an intruder/interloper in her own family."

Also, do you perceive any subtle difference between these words in this meaning (being somewhere where you are not wanted)? I know "intruder" has one more meaning and can refer to someone who breaks into a building to steal something, but apart from this are they completely the same?

Thank you in advance for your help.
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    There is a lot of overlap with how we use these.
    However, I would not use interloper to describe a thief - that's an intruder. The definition of intruder is more to do with being secretive or illegal as welll as unwelcome.

    For the family context I'd favour "interloper" - our dictionary definition suggests the idea of being involved in someone else's affairs, someone who puts themselves into social situations where they do not belong. All of this fits well with the context.
    < Previous | Next >