The use of the word 老外 began in the 1980s, as an abbreviation of the term 外國人 (foreigner) into 外 (foreign or outside) plus the character 老 (old). The character 老 is translated by google translation as: adj(" old ", " aged ", " outdated ", " tough "), adv(" always ", " constantly "). It can have positive associations, indicating age or experience—such as lǎopéngyou ( 老 朋友 ; "old friend")—or respect, as in the familiar use of lǎo to denote the senior and respected members of families or to address teachers ( 老師 ; 老师 , lǎoshī ).

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