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eerie

or ee·ry

[eer-ee]
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adjective, ee·ri·er, ee·ri·est.
  1. uncanny, so as to inspire superstitious fear; weird: an eerie midnight howl.
  2. Chiefly Scot. affected with superstitious fear.

Origin of eerie

1250–1300; Middle English eri, dialectal variant of argh, Old English earg cowardly; cognate with Old Frisian erg, Old Norse argr evil, German arg cowardly
Related formsee·ri·ly, adverbee·ri·ness, noun
Can be confusedaerie eerie Erie

Synonyms

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1. See weird.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for eerie

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Here is something before unknown to the eerie spirits of the woods.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • The night sounds of the city hummed in eerie cadences in her ears.

    Highacres

    Jane Abbott

  • About her were all the eerie noises of the dark, the little, little sounds of little, little things.

    Glory of Youth

    Temple Bailey

  • The moor was sounding loud and eerie with the call of large birds.

  • In this vast solitude there was something weird and eerie that shook her courage.

    Oh, You Tex!

    William Macleod Raine


British Dictionary definitions for eerie

eerie

adjective eerier or eeriest
  1. (esp of places, an atmosphere, etc) mysteriously or uncannily frightening or disturbing; weird; ghostly
Derived Formseerily, adverbeeriness, noun

Word Origin

C13: originally Scottish and Northern English, probably from Old English earg cowardly, miserable
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for eerie

adj.

c.1300, "fearful, timid," north England and Scottish variant of Old English earg "cowardly, fearful," from Proto-Germanic *argaz (cf. Old Frisian erg "evil, bad," Middle Dutch arch "bad," Dutch arg, Old High German arg "cowardly, worthless," German arg "bad, wicked," Old Norse argr "unmanly, voluptuous," Swedish arg "malicious").

Sense of "causing fear because of strangeness" is first attested 1792. Related: Eerily. Finnish arka "cowardly" is a Germanic loan-word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper