9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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 eerily
  • Their clothes are blood-soaked, and their wounds are eerily similar.
  • The box holds a rectangular chunk, less than two inches across, of eerily translucent material.
  • The place always seemed eerily quiet, reserved, almost lethargic.
  • But its face is eerily realistic to the eye and touch.
  • She had started getting messages from aliens a few years before, but now the messages were getting eerily specific.
  • It is a strategy, amazing to some in the industry, that is eerily reminiscent.
  • Many airports in the hours leading up to the air-traffic control rollover were eerily quiet.
  • But what makes him instantly contemporary are the eerily familiar details of his grandiose military ambition.
  • Exclusive photos show the eerily empty world they left behind.
  • People who have been inside say that the limo is eerily serene, as if the outside world were on mute.
British Dictionary definitions for eerily


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 eerily



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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