• synonyms


adjective, ee·ri·er, ee·ri·est.
  1. eerie.
Show More


or ee·ry

adjective, ee·ri·er, ee·ri·est.
  1. uncanny, so as to inspire superstitious fear; weird: an eerie midnight howl.
  2. Chiefly Scot. affected with superstitious fear.
Show More

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


1. See weird.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for eery

Historical Examples

  • Somewhere among the currant bushes was a sound of eery laughter.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • The night was suddenly sibilant with eery, whistling voices.

    Two Thousand Miles Below

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • In the eery light a well-furnished living room was revealed.

    When the Sleepers Woke

    Arthur Leo Zagat

  • It was like some eery fantasy, born of an overwrought brain.

    The Promise

    James B. Hendryx

  • The effect was fascinating—even thrilling—and yet it was eery.

British Dictionary definitions for eery


adjective eerier or eeriest
  1. (esp of places, an atmosphere, etc) mysteriously or uncannily frightening or disturbing; weird; ghostly
Show More
Derived Formseerily, adverbeeriness, noun

Word Origin

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 eery



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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper