\ ˈkwərk How to pronounce quirk (audio) \

Definition of quirk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an abrupt twist or curve
b : a peculiar trait : idiosyncrasy
c : accident, vagary a quirk of fate
2 : a groove separating a bead or other molding from adjoining members


quirked; quirking; quirks

Definition of quirk (Entry 2 of 2)

: curve, twist quirked his eyebrows

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Other Words from quirk


quirkish \ ˈkwər-​kish How to pronounce quirkish (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?


Did you expect quirk to be a noun meaning "a peculiarity of action or behavior"? If so, you're probably not alone; the "peculiarity" sense of the noun quirk is commonly known and has been a part of our language since the 17th century. But quirk has long worn other hats in English, too. The sense meaning "a curve, turn, or twist" has named everything from curving pen marks on paper (i.e., flourishes) to witty turns of phrase to the vagaries or twists of fate. In contemporary English, the verb quirk is most often used in referring to facial expressions, especially those that involve crooked smiles or furrowed eyebrows.

Examples of quirk in a Sentence

Noun Everyone has their little quirks. wearing red shoes every day is just one of her quirks
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Even its specifications and test-track results might tend to mislead you, as might individual quirks of its very strong character. Larry Griffin, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1982 Audi Quattro," 22 May 2020 In a quirk of timing, UW Medicine established its program in January, only days before the country’s first coronavirus case surfaced in a Seattle suburb. Martin Kuz, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘You don’t feel alone’: How medical workers help each other cope," 20 May 2020 Washington — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that juries in state criminal trials must be unanimous to convict a defendant, settling a quirk of constitutional law that had allowed divided votes to result in convictions in Louisiana and Oregon. CBS News, "Supreme Court: Criminal juries must be unanimous to convict," 20 Apr. 2020 At moments like these, Trump’s lies become more than just a weird personality quirk of a lifelong real-estate hustler. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Trump Can’t Lie His Way Out of This One," 16 Apr. 2020 The reason has less to do with the human body’s resilience to disease than the biological quirks of viruses themselves, says Sara Sawyer, a virologist and disease ecologist at the University of Colorado Boulder. Lynn Johnson, National Geographic, "See the Full Archive," 15 Apr. 2020 But Reuters, for one, suggests the quirk of the calendar could actually bring calm to the markets today. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "The global markets climb even as the coronavirus death rate soars," 20 Mar. 2020 But many will see little relief, or none whatsoever, due to a quirk of jet fuel purchasing. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "Oil prices are historically low, but it won’t help most airlines," 9 Mar. 2020 Astronomers can see large bright suns, known as S-type stars, swooping in close, but Bakala thinks that older and dimmer objects such as neutron stars could, through a quirk of gravitation, make their presence known. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Could a habitable planet orbit a black hole?," 4 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But many other smaller outfits were unable to access the loan program, even as some larger firms took advantage of the program’s quirks to get approval for high-dollar relief. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "House poised to pass $484 billion package to help small businesses, bolster hospitals and coronavirus testing," 23 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quirk.' 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 quirk


1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1878, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for quirk


origin unknown

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Time Traveler for quirk

Time Traveler

The first known use of quirk was in 1565

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Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Quirk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quirk. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for quirk


How to pronounce quirk (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of quirk

: an unusual habit or way of behaving
: something strange that happens by chance


\ ˈkwərk How to pronounce quirk (audio) \

Kids Definition of quirk

1 : an odd or unusual characteristic or habit
2 : something strange that happens by chance Their meeting was a quirk of fate.

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More from Merriam-Webster on quirk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quirk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quirk

Spanish Central: Translation of quirk

Nglish: Translation of quirk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quirk for Arabic Speakers

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