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or eery

[eer-ee] /ˈɪər i/
adjective, eerier, eeriest.
uncanny, so as to inspire superstitious fear; weird:
an eerie midnight howl.
Chiefly Scot. affected with superstitious fear.
Origin of eerie
1250-1300; Middle English eri, dialectal variant of argh, Old English earg cowardly; cognate with Old Frisian erg, Old Norse argr evil, German arg cowardly
Related forms
eerily, adverb
eeriness, noun
Can be confused
aerie, eerie, Erie.
1. See weird. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for eerie
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Deep snow, glittering with an eerie blue lustre, lay heavy on the high boundary wall.

    The Cry at Midnight Mildred A. Wirt
  • Here is something before unknown to the eerie spirits of the woods.

    The Forest Stewart Edward White
  • Floodlights bathed the wire and cast an eerie glow over the mass of parked cars and persons jammed outside the fence.

    Make Mine Homogenized Rick Raphael
  • The night sounds of the city hummed in eerie cadences in her ears.

    Highacres Jane Abbott
  • But my passing life, my eerie lonely life, is lived in my Two Dresses and none besides, and I need no more.

    I, Mary MacLane Mary MacLane
British Dictionary definitions for eerie


adjective eerier, eeriest
(esp of places, an atmosphere, etc) mysteriously or uncannily frightening or disturbing; weird; ghostly
Derived Forms
eerily, adverb
eeriness, noun
Word Origin
C13: originally Scottish and Northern English, probably from Old English earg cowardly, miserable
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
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Word Origin and History for eerie

c.1300, "fearful, timid," north England and Scottish variant of Old English earg "cowardly, fearful," from Proto-Germanic *argaz (cf. Old Frisian erg "evil, bad," Middle Dutch arch "bad," Dutch arg, Old High German arg "cowardly, worthless," German arg "bad, wicked," Old Norse argr "unmanly, voluptuous," Swedish arg "malicious").

Sense of "causing fear because of strangeness" is first attested 1792. Related: Eerily. Finnish arka "cowardly" is a Germanic loan-word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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