[ kwur-kee ]
/ ˈkwɜr ki /
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See synonyms for: quirky / quirkiness on Thesaurus.com

adjective, quirk·i·er, quirk·i·est.
having or full of quirks.
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Origin of quirky

First recorded in 1800–10; quirk + -y1


quirk·i·ly, adverbquirk·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does quirky mean?

Quirky describes something that has or is full of quirks, which are odd or unusual qualities.

Usually, a person is described as quirky when they behave in a way or have qualities that are unique to them or that set them apart from others. Things are described as quirky when they have odd qualities. A quirky house, for example, might be painted fluorescent colors or have an odd shape.


  • Because Janet dyes her hair bright green and wears roller skates more than shoes, people think of her as quirky. 
  • The painting’s irregular shapes and vivid colors give it a quirky feel.

Where does quirky come from?

The first records of quirky come from about 1800. It is an adjective form of the older word quirk, whose origin is uncertain.

If something is quirky, it has quirks. A quirk is a mannerism or characteristic that is considered peculiar or unusual. Someone or something that is quirky has a lot of quirks or acts in a way that is considered different or odd. A dog described as quirky might behave in a way that’s unexpected, especially for its particular breed—like a hound that’s afraid of squirrels.

Nonliving things that are described as quirky don’t follow the intended design or are obviously different compared to other members of a group or category. Rainbow-colored socks, for example, are a quirky fashion choice that stand out from plainer socks people usually buy.

When it comes to people, though, quirkiness is often determined based on what is considered “normal” or “average” in a given place. A tourist or foreign visitor may be called quirky even if they are acting in a way that is considered normal in the place they come from.

At the same time, certain behaviors or actions are considered quirky because most people don’t usually act a certain way: A person who wears their pants on their head would be considered quirky because that is a behavior almost everybody would consider odd or unusual.

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What are some other forms related to quirky?

  • quirkier (adjective)
  • quirkiest (adjective)
  • quirkiness (noun)
  • quirkily (adverb)

What are some synonyms for quirky?

What are some words that share a root or word element with quirky



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How is quirky used in real life?

Quirky is used to describe things or people that are unusual or odd.



Try using quirky!

Is quirky used correctly in the following sentence?

People think of my cat as quirky just because he befriends mice and dogs.

How to use quirky in a sentence