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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 eeriness
Historical Examples
  • He felt again the eeriness of this desertion, and hurried on past the silent places.

    Merton of the Movies Harry Leon Wilson
  • Not the least detail seemed lacking to enhance the eeriness of the scene.

    The Cradle of Mankind W.A. Wigram
  • The very calmness of the information, its manner of conveyance, increased the eeriness of the warning.

    The Messenger Elizabeth Robins
  • To-night the eeriness and dramatic intensity of a notable crime lay at the very doors of the village.

  • Ah, then the mill took on an eeriness befitting a very borderland of goblindom.

    The Gypsy's Parson George Hall
  • Peal after peal rang through the haunted wood, and increased the eeriness of the place.

    To Have and To Hold Mary Johnston
  • Is there a relationship here, or is it only a similarity of eeriness in temper?

    Adventures in the Arts Marsden Hartley
  • It lessened the eeriness a lot to know beforehand what a Martian looked like.

    Stamped Caution Raymond Zinke Gallun
  • Few pieces can rival it for eeriness of impression, and few exhibit such delicate skill in the choice of details in description.

    The Age of Tennyson Hugh Walker
  • Their mystery, their dramatic climaxes, their eeriness gave him a fearful, exquisite pleasure.

    Rainbow Valley Lucy Maud Montgomery
British Dictionary definitions for eeriness


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 eeriness



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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