Abroad vs Overseas: Difference and Comparison

Such words are difficult to use in a sentence because the meaning of the sentence is still the same, even by interchanging the word with another. Two such confusing words are Abroad and Overseas.

Key Takeaways

  1. Abroad applies to any foreign country or location outside one’s home nation, whereas overseas refers to locations across a sea or ocean.
  2. Both terms denote international travel but overseas emphasizes geographical distance and separation by water.
  3. Abroad is a more general term, while overseas is more specific to the geographical context of the destination.

Abroad vs Overseas

Abroad is any location outside of one’s home country, regardless of its distance. For example, someone from the US may be traveling to Canada, Mexico, or a nearby Caribbean island. Overseas refers to locations far away from one’s home country, such as Europe, Asia, or Australia.

Abroad vs Overseas

Abroad is defined as a country which is not one’s own residential country. For example, for an Indian citizen, all other countries except India are abroad countries.

Overseas is referred to travelling to the countries for which one needs to go beyond the ocean or sea. For example, for an Indian citizen to reach Canada, he or she needs to travel beyond the sea.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAbroadOverseas
DefinitionAll other countries other one’s own country.All countries to which one has to travel beyond the sea.
Part of SpeechAdverb.Adjective.
WritingGenerally used in formal writing.Generally used in informal writing.
Travelling to countriesAir transport and either land or water transport.Only by air or water transport.
Border SharingThey may or may not share a border.Do not share a border.

What is Abroad?

Abroad is defined as a country which is not one’s own residential country. The word Abroad is an adverb, one of the eight parts of speech.

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Even though abroad can also be used informally, in formal writing, abroad is preferred over overseas. However, the word overseas is not always used for abroad countries as it may contradict the fact.

If a country is overseas, then only water transport is possible. On the other hand, if a country is not overseas but is still abroad, land transport is an option if the country abroad allows it.


What is Overseas?

Overseas refers to travelling to countries where one needs to go beyond the ocean or sea. The word Overseas is an adjective, one of the eight parts of speech.

Since overseas is an adjective, it is not preferred in formal writing, such as formal letters, emails, etc. Adjectives are mostly considered to weaken the writer’s point; hence, they are avoided if unnecessary.

A country that is overseas to one’s own country will always be an abroad country as well. For example, for an Indian citizen, travelling to the United States would be an overseas journey, but the United States is also an abroad country to India.

In most cases, the word overseas is used abroad whenever we talk about travelling abroad by crossing the ocean or sea.


Main Differences Between Abroad and Overseas

  1. Some countries abroad can share a border with their own country, whereas countries that are overseas don’t.
  2. The word abroad is preferred in formal writing over the word overseas.
Difference Between Abroad and Overseas
  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0047287504265516
  2. https://search.proquest.com/openview/6e10d9f81c751500741205310dde52cb/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1819054

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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8 thoughts on “Abroad vs Overseas: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Thanks for this enlightening article. I’ve always had a vague understanding of the difference between ‘abroad’ and ‘overseas’, but now it seems much clearer. Great job!

  2. Nice to see an article discussing semantics. Although these two words are used interchangeably, it’s fascinating to note that the term ‘overseas’ draws attention to the geographical nature of the location.

  3. It’s vital to have a clear understanding of these terms, especially in the field of travel and tourism. I appreciated the succinct breakdown of the information here.

  4. Thank you for clarifying the differences between these two words. I suppose using the term ‘abroad’ is less specific as it can refer to any foreign location, regardless of whether it’s across an ocean or not.

  5. I found the use of ‘abroad’ in some historical literature, but rarely the term ‘overseas.’ This aligns with what the article has stated about the preference in formal writing.

  6. This piece provided a concise explanation of what distinguishes ‘abroad’ from ‘overseas.’ The part about the nature of the transportation needed was particularly enlightening.

  7. The article is comprehensive and offers a nice comparison between these two terms. I wonder if there are any historical reasons for why ‘abroad’ is preferred in formal writing?

  8. This is an interesting read. It clearly points out that ‘abroad’ is more of an adverb, while ‘overseas’ functions as an adjective, which makes sense when you consider how they’re being used.


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