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.

Origin of uncanny

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

Synonyms for uncanny

Antonyms for uncanny

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

Examples from the Web for uncannily

Contemporary Examples of uncannily

Historical Examples of uncannily

  • 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
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper