Can the word "overseas" be used to country bordered by land. For example is it correct if someone says I am doing work overseas if he is is doing work in the neighbouring country border by land not water with his country?

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    The dictionaries seem split on this: half say only "across the sea or ocean", and the other half say "in or relating to a foregn country especially across water.
    – Cascabel
    Jun 22 '17 at 18:41
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    It's beginning to be a "quaint" term regardless... a relic of the pre air-transportation era I would say.
    – Tom22
    Jun 22 '17 at 18:53
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    It's vague. In the US, Mexico is not overseas, Guatemala is not overseas,... Panama, I'm not sure..., Columbia??? ... Brazil seems so far away, I'm sure it is overseas, Argentina is totally overseas..or maybe not. Iceland is overseas.It all depends and there wil always be fuzzy parts to it.
    – Mitch
    Jun 22 '17 at 19:30
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    @Mitch I think the largest consensus is that anything south of the Darién Gap is overseas, because you generally have to go by sea or air to get across it (I suppose it might be possible to hack through on foot, but it sounds very iffy). So Panama is not "overseas" from the US but Colombia is. On the flipside, I would not consider Hawaii "overseas" from California, even though you obviously have to cross the Pacific ocean to get there. I'm now very curious whether Panama and Colombia would consider each other "overseas".
    – 1006a
    Jun 22 '17 at 19:34
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    Possible duplicate of Equivalent word for 'overseas' for a non-island country? Jun 22 '17 at 20:31

From a British English perspective it is a synonym of abroad, but from a continental Europe perspective, for instance, it would not be used to refer to countries that are not divided by the sea or the ocean.


to or in a foreign country, especially those separated from your country by the sea or ocean (synonym abroad)

  • to live/work/go overseas The product is sold both at home and overseas. He was working overseas for an oil company.



  • 1580s, from over + sea. Popularised during World War I as a British euphemism for "colonial."


  • Jay's answer at the-thread-where-this-has-already-been-addressed is 'The U.S. is not an island but we routinely refer to foreign countries as "overseas". People quibble about whether Canada and Mexico are "overseas" as you don't have to go over any seas to get there.' OP here could have looked up 'overseas' themself. Jun 22 '17 at 21:42
  • @EdwinAshworth - that's a comment, not an answer!!!
    – user66974
    Jun 23 '17 at 5:15
  • It illustrates that the original is indeed a duplicate, soliciting the type of answer given here. Why not post your answer there? Jun 23 '17 at 12:01

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