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[el-drich] /ˈɛl drɪtʃ/
eerie; weird; spooky.
Also, eldrich; elritch
[el-rich] /ˈɛl rɪtʃ/ (Show IPA)
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) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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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.

    Lords of the North A. C. Laut
  • Berwin gave a kind of eldritch shriek and stepped back a pace, as though to place himself on his guard.

    The Silent House Fergus Hume
  • Before they had gone far an eldritch shout of laughter was responded to by a burst of furious dismay and imprecation.

    A Reputed Changeling Charlotte M. Yonge
  • And the wizened little face, with its eldritch eyes and tangled hair, was withdrawn, and the door began to close.

  • The brothers had hardly crossed the threshold of the house when an eldritch scream rang through the lofty hall.

  • John had a whip in his hand, with which he lashed the water furiously, and uttered his eldritch shrieks.

    The Witch of Salem John R. Musick
British Dictionary definitions for eldritch


(poetic, Scot) unearthly; weird
Word Origin
C16: perhaps from Old English ælfelf + 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
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Word Origin and History for eldritch

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
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