\ 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 quirk (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 During the two millennia since, Aristotle’s take on literature as a kind of medicine has slipped into becoming a quirk of history, replaced by the medieval-then-modern view of literature as words to be interpreted. Angus Fletcher, WSJ, "The Cathartic Technology of Greek Tragedy," 24 Mar. 2021 But in an apparent quirk of their viral-vector platforms, those formulas show lower efficacy when all the participants’ results, from moderate illness to severe illness to death, were assessed. Maryn Mckenna, Wired, "The Pandemic Can’t End While Wealthy Nations Hoard Shots," 9 Mar. 2021 What was an interesting and believable quirk in the first novel becomes a more questionable choice in the second. Mary Cadden, USA TODAY, "S.A. Lelchuk's thriller 'One Got Away' a riveting follow-up to 'Save Me From Dangerous Men'," 13 Apr. 2021 But this cell also has a quirk: Many of its progeny are misshapen. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "Scientists coax cells with the world’s smallest genomes to reproduce normally," 29 Mar. 2021 Due to a tragic quirk of geology, many tropical soils also lock away phosphorus efficiently, forcing farmers to apply more fertilizer than their counterparts in other areas of the world. Julia Rosen, The Atlantic, "We Broke Phosphorus," 8 Feb. 2021 Georgia from the SEC East is on Arkansas’ schedule for the second consecutive season due to a scheduling quirk. Matt Jones, Arkansas Online, "Arkansas' 2021 football schedule announced," 27 Jan. 2021 Realized as a quirk of Senate rules, it has since been entrenched through precedent. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, "What is the filibuster? A look at the Senate’s consequential quirk and debate on its future," 20 Mar. 2021 Adams beat Jefferson in the race to succeed Washington, but, as a result of a quirk in the Electoral College at the time, Jefferson became Vice-President. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, "What Is Happening to the Republicans?," 8 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Working from home: The fun quirks couples learn about each other Look and sound more professional Mind your manners in online meetings by following these tips For video meetings, the eyes have it. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Amazon is planning a 'Big Style Sale' event in June," 4 June 2020 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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Last Updated

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Quirk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quirk. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for quirk



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

Nglish: Translation of quirk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quirk for Arabic Speakers

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