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[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.
Also, eery.
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
  • Its eerie accuracy remains one of history's greatest mysteries.
  • The music on the soundtrack exaggerated the eerie atmosphere and kept me wary.
  • So passionate, so full of pain, it sounded strange and eerie.
  • The eerie canoe trail slips through sunless channels of brown water.
  • It is pretty eerie outside without a hint of a breeze so everything is completely still and very dark.
  • Nearby houses had been abandoned and there was an eerie emptiness in the normally densely populated countryside.
  • It was an eerie quiet.
  • Several eerie things in the story seemed to presage Ledger's death.
  • He specialized in eerie situations with powerful mythic overtones.
  • The eerie glow is called Hawking radiation, and physicists have been hunting it for decades.
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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