From the earlier form elritch, of uncertain origin. The second element, -ritch, is generally taken to be Old English rīċe (“realm, kingdom”) (see riche). Some think the first element, el-, derives from an Old English root meaning "foreign, strange, other" (related to Old English ellende and modern English else); others think it derives from elf. Reintroduced into popular literature by the writings of H. P. Lovecraft.
- Unearthly, supernatural, eerie, preternatural.
- 2011, James D. Hornfischer, “28: Into the Light”, in Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal, New York: Bantam Books, →ISBN, retrieved 23 November 2022, page 276:
- The large vessel's dark form was massive, eldritch, as it loomed off the Cushing's port bow in the flash-lit darkness. This was the Hiei. The recognition of the battleship spread down the van, from the Cushing to the Laffey to the Sterett to the O'Bannon.