eerie; weird; spooky.

Also el·drich; el·ritch [el-rich] /ˈɛl rɪtʃ/.

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)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for eldritch

Historical Examples of eldritch

  • 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!


    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.


    Robert Louis Stevenson

  • And the wind burst upon us again, catching my empty denial and tossing the words to upper air with eldritch laughter.

British Dictionary definitions for eldritch




poetic, Scot unearthly; weird

Word Origin for eldritch

C16: perhaps from Old English ælf elf + 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

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