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 eeriness

Historical Examples of eeriness

  • Is there a relationship here, or is it only a similarity of eeriness in temper?

    Adventures in the Arts

    Marsden Hartley

  • Not the least detail seemed lacking to enhance the eeriness of the scene.

  • It lessened the eeriness a lot to know beforehand what a Martian looked like.

    Stamped Caution

    Raymond Zinke Gallun

  • To-night the eeriness and dramatic intensity of a notable crime lay at the very doors of the village.

  • He felt again the eeriness of this desertion, and hurried on past the silent places.

    Merton of the Movies

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for eeriness


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 eeriness



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