What does it mean?
It's used in more formal Spanish and generally means 'someone else's' or 'other people's'.
Examples of use
- No me gusta quitarme los zapatos en casa ajena
I don't like taking off my shoes in someone else's house.
It also means foreign, alien or unconnected.
- El trabajo que hacen los profesores es completamente ajeno a un político.
The work that teachers do is completely alien to a politician.
You might also hear ajeno being used when talking about employment status: por cuenta ajena
- Trabaja por cuenta ajena.
He works for someone else.
And finally, our favorite use of ajeno:
Vergüenza ajena is to feel embarrassment or shame for someone else; when something someone else does makes you cringe.
- El grupo tocaba tan mal que sentí vergüenza ajena.
The group played so badly that it made me cringe.
This word of the day has been contributed by LAE Madrid, the leading Spanish academy in Madrid. Accredited by the Insitituto Cervantes, it offers Spanish courses for all levels and also has Spanish classes for kids and families. Read their blog for more Spanish!