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[uhn-kan-ee] /ʌnˈkæn i/
having or seeming to have a supernatural or inexplicable basis; beyond the ordinary or normal; extraordinary:
uncanny accuracy; an uncanny knack of foreseeing trouble.
mysterious; arousing superstitious fear or dread; uncomfortably strange:
Uncanny sounds filled the house.
Origin of uncanny
First recorded in 1590-1600; un-1 + canny
Related forms
uncannily, adverb
uncanniness, noun
2. preternatural, odd. See weird.
2. ordinary, natural. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for uncanniness
Historical Examples
  • This, besides giving a fine idea of uncanniness, made one member of the audience sea-sick.

    From Sea to Sea Rudyard Kipling
  • But in spite of this, and the uncanniness of his appearance, there was something about Outa Karel that drew one to him.

    Outa Karel's Stories Sanni Metelerkamp
  • They gazed intently into the ball, and though they could see nothing, Patty felt a weird sense of uncanniness.

    Patty's Success Carolyn Wells
  • He laid it down and followed cautiously, ready to launch the boot at the first sign of uncanniness.

    Pearl of Pearl Island John Oxenham
  • I've handled many cases, but this one beats them all for uncanniness, and downright mystery.

    The Green God Frederic Arnold Kummer
  • As his eyes peered into the flames, they seemed intoxicated, obsessed, seized with uncanniness.

    The Goose Man Jacob Wassermann
  • The moat had an uncanniness of its own; it was haunted by leaping fires that overran it and left no trace.

    An Isle in the Water Katharine Tynan
  • Presently the sense of uncanniness abated somewhat; the elfin in her went out to meet the weirdness of the wood.

    Antony Gray,--Gardener Leslie Moore
  • Even Mr. Midshipman Hamshaw was decidedly disconcerted and nonplussed by the uncanniness of the situation.

    The Great Airship. F. S. Brereton
  • This intuition, combined with experience, had been developed to the point of uncanniness.

    The Fighting Shepherdess
    Caroline Lockhart
British Dictionary definitions for uncanniness


characterized by apparently supernatural wonder, horror, etc
beyond what is normal or expected: an uncanny accuracy
Derived Forms
uncannily, adverb
uncanniness, noun
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 uncanniness



1590s, "mischievous;" 1773 in the sense of "associated with the supernatural," originally Scottish and northern English, from un- (1) "not" + canny.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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