having or seeming to have a supernatural or inexplicable basis; beyond the ordinary or normal; extraordinary: uncanny accuracy; an uncanny knack of foreseeing trouble.
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. 2019

Examples from the Web for uncanniness

Historical Examples of uncanniness

  • But in spite of this, and the uncanniness of his appearance, there was something about Outa Karel that drew one to him.

    Outa Karel's Stories

    Sanni Metelerkamp

  • He laid it down and followed cautiously, ready to launch the boot at the first sign of uncanniness.

  • This, besides giving a fine idea of uncanniness, made one member of the audience sea-sick.

    From Sea to Sea

    Rudyard Kipling

  • As his eyes peered into the flames, they seemed intoxicated, obsessed, seized with uncanniness.

    The Goose Man

    Jacob Wassermann

  • Presently the sense of uncanniness abated somewhat; the elfin in her went out to meet the weirdness of the wood.

British Dictionary definitions for uncanniness



characterized by apparently supernatural wonder, horror, etc
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 uncanniness



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