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stranger; strangest
: different from what is usual, ordinary, or expected : odd
a strange sound
a strange person
the cat's strange behavior
: not before known, heard, or seen : unfamiliar
customs that were strange to him
feeling lost in a strange city
: not entirely comfortable or well : uncomfortable, ill at ease
felt a strange sensation in the pit of my stomach
I left Lady Glyde … and joined Mrs. Rubelle, with the object of kindly preventing her from feeling strange and nervous in consequence of the uncertainty of her situation.Wilkie Collins
dated : discouraging familiarities : reserved, distant
… why did you break off our confidences and become quite strange to me?George Bernard Shaw
: unaccustomed sense 2
She was strange to his ways.
: not native to or naturally belonging in a place : of external origin, kind, or character
archaic : of, relating to, or characteristic of another country : foreign
strangely adverb


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often attributive
: a fundamental quark that has an electric charge of −¹/₃ and a measured energy of approximately 150 MeV
also : the flavor characterizing this particle
Choose the Right Synonym for strange

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

Examples of strange in a Sentence

Adjective Does his behavior seem strange to you? Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. That is one of the strangest creatures I have ever seen. He gave me a strange look. Strange as it may seem, I don't like walking barefoot on the grass. It's strange that nobody told me about this before. That's strange. He was here a minute ago. The strange thing is that nobody saw him enter or leave the building. Children are taught not to talk to strange people. The language was strange to me. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Currently in post production, the movie follows Nacer, a 45-year-old journalist who is observing the appearance of strange yellow sandstorms looming over Algiers and its surroundings. Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 20 Feb. 2024 Imagine starting your day only to find your browser's homepage replaced by a strange website and your searches rerouted to unfamiliar territories. Kurt Knutsson, Cyberguy Report, Fox News, 20 Feb. 2024 This is the strange tale told by the journalist Steve Coll in The Achilles Trap, a history of Saddam’s unconventional weapons programs and American attempts to end them. Gideon Rose, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 Ritual killings, strange voodoo symbols, the mysterious Yellow King. Erik Kain, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 The truth is sometimes stranger than fiction and traversing Discovery+ will take you on a journey of extreme fact-finding. Briana Richert, James Mercadante,, 19 Feb. 2024 There’s no word on casting, but the thriller will follow Johanne, a marine biologist who encounters several strange occurrences while researching a fjord, including the brutal deaths of two local teenagers. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Feb. 2024 Such strange behaviors have already cropped up in far from superintelligent ways. Matteo Wong, The Atlantic, 16 Feb. 2024 This led the team to believe that there was something strange about the color. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 8 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'strange.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English straunge, strange, straynge "foreign, unfamiliar, from elsewhere, unusual, aloof," borrowed from Anglo-French estrange, estraunge "outside the family, foreign, unusual, marvelous" (continental Old French estrange), going back to Latin extrāneus "not belonging to one's family or household, coming from abroad, foreign, external," from extrā "outside, beyond the boundaries of" + -āneus, adjective suffix — more at extra-

Note: For more on the suffix -āneus see the etymology and note at spontaneous. The immediate model for extrāneus was perhaps phrasal derivatives (as circumforāneus "connected with the business of the forum, itinerant," mediterrāneus "remote from the coast, inland") that deal with spatial relationships. The counterpart adjective intrāneus is not attested until about the fifth century.


derivative of strange entry 1

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4b


1974, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of strange was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near strange

Cite this Entry

“Strange.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


stranger; strangest
: not native to or naturally belonging in a place
: not known, heard, or seen before
strange surroundings
: causing surprise or wonder because not usual : noticeably unusual
strange clothes
: uneasy sense 1
feels strange on the first day of school
strangely adverb
strangeness noun


Middle English strange "foreign," from early French estrange (same meaning), from Latin extraneus, literally, "external, coming from the outside," from extra "outside" — related to extra-

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