or ee·ry


adjective, ee·ri·er, ee·ri·est.

uncanny, so as to inspire superstitious fear; weird: an eerie midnight howl.
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 for eerie

1. See weird. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for eerily

Contemporary Examples of eerily

Historical Examples of eerily

  • My humor enters into it, in no obvious way but eerily like a gay ghost.

    I, Mary MacLane

    Mary MacLane

  • Earthquakes are eerily quiet -- at first, anyway -- but this wasn't quiet.

    Little Brother

    Cory Doctorow

  • Really, this was all so eerily interesting that she almost forgot the pain of her bandaged ankle.

  • The ship was eerily silent, dropping with a rising scream as the atmosphere touched the hull.

    A World is Born

    Leigh Douglass Brackett

  • They sounded like small working sounds, blending in eerily mysterious fashion with a chorus of small voices.

British Dictionary definitions for eerily


adjective eerier or eeriest

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

Word Origin for eerie

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 eerily



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