out·​land·​ish | \ ˌau̇t-ˈlan-dish How to pronounce outlandish (audio) \

Definition of outlandish

1 : of or relating to another country : foreign saw many outlandish animals at the zoo
2a : strikingly out of the ordinary : bizarre an outlandish costume Her book is filled with outlandish characters. spun some outlandish tales
b : exceeding proper or reasonable limits or standards workers complain of outlandish hours— Joan E. Rigdon outlandish government specifications
3 : remote from civilization no other young men foolish enough to offer to go to such an outlandish stationGeog. Jour.

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Other Words from outlandish

outlandishly adverb
outlandishness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for outlandish

strange, singular, unique, peculiar, eccentric, erratic, odd, quaint, outlandish mean departing from what is ordinary, usual, or to be expected. strange stresses unfamiliarity and may apply to the foreign, the unnatural, the unaccountable. a journey filled with strange sights singular suggests individuality or puzzling strangeness. a singular feeling of impending disaster unique implies singularity and the fact of being without a known parallel. a career unique in the annals of science peculiar implies a marked distinctiveness. the peculiar status of America's first lady eccentric suggests a wide divergence from the usual or normal especially in behavior. the eccentric eating habits of preschoolers erratic stresses a capricious and unpredictable wandering or deviating. a friend's suddenly erratic behavior odd applies to a departure from the regular or expected. an odd sense of humor quaint suggests an old-fashioned but pleasant oddness. a quaint fishing village outlandish applies to what is uncouth, bizarre, or barbaric. outlandish fashions of the time

Did You Know?

In olden times, English speakers used the phrase outlandish man to refer to a foreigner - or, one who came from an outland, which originally meant "a foreign land." From here, outlandish broadened in usage from a word meaning "from another land" to one describing something unfamiliar or strange. Dress was a common early target for the adjective - Henry Fielding, in Tom Jones (1749), writes of a woman who was drest in one of your outlandish Garments. Nowadays, the word can be applied to anything that strikes us as out of the ordinary, as in the description of one man’s outlandish proposal to replace the aging Tappan Zee Bridge with a seven-mile tunnel, from the New York Times, September 16, 2001.

Examples of outlandish in a Sentence

She fills her books with outlandish characters. The actress wore an outlandish dress to the awards ceremony.

Recent Examples on the Web

And if Elworthy's claim that this clash is the biggest in world sport seems outlandish, then an unparalleled demand for tickets suggests otherwise. Nick Friend, CNN, "'The biggest game in world sport': India-Pakistan rivalry offers a chance to show rare unity," 13 June 2019 Initially the outlandish characters are bizarre, if hilarious, but each performer makes them memorable, especially Chris Webber as the charismatic and coiffed Preacher. Katie Walsh, kansascity, "In ‘Uncle Drew,’ NBA greats bring moves and charm to basketball underdog comedy," 28 June 2018 Initially, the outlandish characters are bizarre, if hilarious, but each performer makes them memorable, especially Webber as the charismatic and coiffed Preacher. Katie Walsh, latimes.com, "'Uncle Drew' is the surprise comedy of the summer," 28 June 2018 Lots of salespeople make outlandish claims, and the successful ones have a quick response for any interrogation. Ramona Sentinel, "Ask Mr. Marketing: Making audiences work for you," 6 July 2019 An idea backed by a presidential candidate seems less outlandish. The Economist, "The winner (no longer) takes it all," 15 June 2019 Instead of telling her the truth, the family seizes on what seems like an outlandish scheme -- fabricating a wedding between Billi's cousin and his girlfriend in order to create an excuse for everyone to journey home and bid grandma farewell. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'The Farewell' shows off Awkwafina and finds truths in a lie," 12 July 2019 But now, with the defender in no position to make such outlandish requests, a deal could finally be brokered. SI.com, "Transfer Rumours: Ceballos to Arsenal or Spurs, Pereira to Juventus, Fernandes to Man Utd & More," 27 June 2019 When corrupt police Inspector Truscott arrives on the scene, the plot segues from the outlandish to the surreal. F. Kathleen Foley, latimes.com, "New in L.A. theater: Orson Welles’ ‘Moby Dick’ and the Odyssey’s ‘Loot’," 7 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'outlandish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of outlandish

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for outlandish

Last Updated

16 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for outlandish

The first known use of outlandish was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for outlandish



English Language Learners Definition of outlandish

: very strange or unusual : extremely different from what is normal or expected


out·​land·​ish | \ au̇t-ˈlan-dish How to pronounce outlandish (audio) \

Kids Definition of outlandish

: very strange or unusual : bizarre outlandish behavior outlandish clothes

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More from Merriam-Webster on outlandish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for outlandish

Spanish Central: Translation of outlandish

Nglish: Translation of outlandish for Spanish Speakers

Comments on outlandish

What made you want to look up outlandish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to shake or wave menacingly

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