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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English eri (fearful), from Old English earg (cowardly, fearful), from Proto-Germanic *argaz. Akin to Scots ergh, argh from the same Old English source. Doublet of argh.



eerie (comparative eerier, superlative eeriest)

  1. Strange, weird, fear-inspiring, especially in a shadowy or mysterious way.
    Synonyms: creepy, spooky; see also Thesaurus:strange
    The eerie sounds seemed to come from the graveyard after midnight.
    • 1899 February, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, [], →OCLC, part I, page 200:
      An eerie feeling came over me.
    • 1943, H. Lorna Bingham, The Lost Tribe, Sydney: Winn and Co., page 13, column 2:
      Dan was beginning to feel very depressed when suddenly the eerie howl of a dingo rang out[.]
    • 2023 June 7, Samira Asma-Sadeque, “‘It’s too much’: New Yorkers don masks or stay inside amid smog crisis”, in The Guardian[1], →ISSN:
      The whole city is immersed in a dystopian-looking smog: urban streets in sepia, emptier than usual, bathed in an eerie quiet.
  2. (Scotland) Frightened, timid.
    • 1883, George MacDonald, Donal Grant:
      She began to feel eerie.
    • 1902, John Buchan, The Outgoing of the Tide:
      'It is my business to read the hearts o' men,' said the other.
      'And who may ye be?' said Heriotside, growing eerie.

Derived terms[edit]


eerie (plural eeries)

  1. Alternative form of eyrie
    • 1884, Gordon Stables, O'er Many Lands, on Many Seas, page 114:
      I'm not sure, indeed, that we didn't scare the eagles from their eeries; at all events we thought we did.
    • 1910, Hans Adolf Erwein Max graf von Königsmarck, P. H. Oakley Williams, A German Staff Officer in India:
      They hang suspended over precipices, these rocky eeries of grim birds of prey that bequeath their appetite for murder and loot to their brood.
    • 1912 December, Joseph Stutzin, “The Children of the Eagle”, in Israel Goldberg, transl., The Maccabæan: A Magazine of Jewish Life and Letters, volume 22, number 6, page 184:
      Of the heavenly azure, and of the eeries suspended on the highest rocks they had indeed heard something, but they had never seen them, and in spite of their wishes it was no longer the old keen home-sickness of the old eagles.
    • 1914, Walter Bloem, The Iron Year, page 78:
      What was it that had driven them forth from their wooded mountain eeries to wait and watch for that one short moment, when the figure of an old man clad in a plain black military tunic would become visible at the saloon-window of a crawling train, to watch a wrinkled hand wave a fleeting greeting?
    • 1932, Nina Larrey Duryea, Mallorca the Magnificent, page 26:
      But his army reached Buñola at the head of the pass, and at once, like a whirlwind, the Moors swept down from their eeries and gave battle.
  2. An eerie creature or thing.
    • 1880, Charles Martin Newell, Kalani of Oahu: An Historical Romance of Hawaii, page 255:
      Other of these terrible Eeries began now to congregate beneath the canoe, taking courage by the example of their cowardly companion, all alike curious about this charming visitant in the upper world.
    • 2013, Robert Silverberg, “A Science-Fiction Garden”, in Reflections and Refractions:
      I tell you it's weirdsville down there, a spaced-out botanical Twilight Zone of creepies, crawlies, eeries, and ghastlies.
    • 2017 September/October, Catherynne M. Valente, “Down and Out in R'lyeh”, in Uncanny Magazine, number 18, page 41:
      Just a couple of eeries looking to get squamous, to swipe a little snatch of wholesome fun from the funktacular funerary fundament belonging to the Big Boss, a hit big enough to drop our brains out the bottoms of our various appendages and forget the essential, unalterable, sanity-shearing truth of our watery and unfleeling cosmos: R'lyeh sucks.
    • 2021, Steve Conoboy, Refrain Of The Fallen:
      If circumstances were even slightly different, I would allow my eeries to descend upon you and do as they pleased. After what your two friends caused here the last time, you're lucky I'm managing to hold them back at all.


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