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[uhn-kan-ee] /ʌnˈkæn i/
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
1590-1600; un-1 + canny
Related forms
uncannily, adverb
uncanniness, noun
2. preternatural, odd. See weird.
2. ordinary, natural. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for uncanny
  • At the age of eighty-four, he retains an unfaltering command of rhythm and an uncanny sensitivity to orchestral balances.
  • There, he observed an uncanny similarity in human response to the arrivals.
  • The bicycle lamp sent a beam of strong white light deep into the uncanny foliage, heads clustered and hands worked.
  • His movements are slow and deliberate, and his voice has an uncanny steadiness to it.
  • Baron also discovered that certain six-letter combinations occur with uncanny frequency.
  • And presidential greatness, in the moment, requires a uncanny combination of powers.
  • We tried to express our perplexity-the uncanny sense that something was missing from this examination.
  • Twenty years after the end of communism, going back to see the house is an uncanny expedition.
  • Farmers and herders have known for centuries that herds of cattle have an uncanny ability to all point in the same direction.
  • But in context, the resemblance to human laughter is uncanny.
British Dictionary definitions for uncanny


characterized by apparently supernatural wonder, horror, etc
beyond what is normal or expected: an uncanny accuracy
Derived Forms
uncannily, adverb
uncanniness, 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
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Word Origin and History for uncanny

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
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