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eldritch

[el-drich]
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adjective
  1. eerie; weird; spooky.
Also el·drich; el·ritch [el-rich] /ˈɛl rɪtʃ/.

Origin of eldritch

1500–10; earlier elrich, equivalent to Old English el- foreign, strange, uncanny (see else) + rīce kingdom (see rich); hence “of a strange country, pertaining to the Otherworld”; compare Old English ellende in a foreign land, exiled (cognate with German Elend penury, distress)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for eldritch

Historical Examples

  • She broke off, and shuddered violently, then burst into eldritch laughter.

    Prisoners of Hope

    Mary Johnston

  • Jacky, with her eldritch voice, had attempted to sing Bessie Bell in her honor—and to leave it all!

    Merkland

    Mrs. Oliphant

  • It is hardly possible to exaggerate the weird fascination and eldritch charm of this once dreaded, ill-omened place.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • And the woman, whose voice had risen to a kind of eldritch sing-song, turned with a skip, and was gone.

    Kidnapped

    Robert Louis Stevenson

  • And the wind burst upon us again, catching my empty denial and tossing the words to upper air with eldritch laughter.


British Dictionary definitions for eldritch

eldritch

eldrich

adjective
  1. poetic, Scot unearthly; weird

Word Origin

C16: perhaps from Old English ælf elf + rīce realm; see rich
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 eldritch

adj.

c.1500, apparently somehow from elf (cf. Scottish variant elphrish), an explanation OED finds "suitable;" Watkins connects its elements with Old English el- "else, otherwise" and rice "realm."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper