• synonyms


  1. having or seeming to have a supernatural or inexplicable basis; beyond the ordinary or normal; extraordinary: uncanny accuracy; an uncanny knack of foreseeing trouble.
  2. mysterious; arousing superstitious fear or dread; uncomfortably strange: Uncanny sounds filled the house.
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Origin of uncanny

First recorded in 1590–1600; un-1 + canny
Related formsun·can·ni·ly, adverbun·can·ni·ness, noun



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

Examples from the Web for uncannily

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • At times Leavitt could be as uncannily brilliant as he was dull and boresome.

  • She began to laugh softly, uncannily, in a way that tore my heart.

    Two Sides of the Face

    Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

  • She was nearly as strong as I, and uncannily clever at all boys' sports.

    My Antonia

    Willa Cather

  • The look was so mournful, so uncannily intent that he turned away from it.

    The Patrician

    John Galsworthy

  • All of which it might have been open to me to feel I had uncannily promoted.

British Dictionary definitions for uncannily


  1. characterized by apparently supernatural wonder, horror, etc
  2. beyond what is normal or expectedan uncanny accuracy
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Derived Formsuncannily, adverbuncanniness, noun
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 uncannily



1590s, "mischievous;" 1773 in the sense of "associated with the supernatural," originally Scottish and northern English, from un- (1) "not" + canny.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper