uncanny

adjective
un·​can·​ny | \ ˌən-ˈka-nē \
uncannier; uncanniest

Definition of uncanny

1a : seeming to have a supernatural character or origin : eerie, mysterious
b : being beyond what is normal or expected : suggesting superhuman or supernatural powers an uncanny sense of direction
2 chiefly Scotland : severe, punishing

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Other Words from uncanny

uncannily \ ˌən-​ˈka-​nə-​lē \ adverb
uncanniness \ ˌən-​ˈka-​nē-​nəs \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for uncanny

weird, eerie, uncanny mean mysteriously strange or fantastic. weird may imply an unearthly or supernatural strangeness or it may stress queerness or oddness. weird creatures from another world eerie suggests an uneasy or fearful consciousness that mysterious and malign powers are at work. an eerie calm preceded the bombing raid uncanny implies disquieting strangeness or mysteriousness. an uncanny resemblance between total strangers

Did You Know?

Weird and eerie are synonyms of uncanny, but there are subtle differences in the meanings of the three words. Weird may be used to describe something that is generally strange or out of the ordinary. Eerie suggests an uneasy or fearful consciousness that some kind of mysterious and malign powers are at work, while uncanny, which debuted in the 18th century, implies disquieting strangeness or mysteriousness. English also has a word canny, but canny and uncanny should not be interpreted as opposites. Canny, which first appeared in English in the 16th century, means "clever," "shrewd" or "prudent," as in "a canny lawyer" or "a canny investment."

Examples of uncanny in a Sentence

I was struck by his uncanny ability to communicate arcane, complex economic policy and by his punk-rock instinct to question the status quo. — Bono, Time, 18 Apr. 2005 To an economist, the 1990s bear an uncanny resemblance to two earlier decades: the 1920s in the United States and the 1980s in Japan. In all three decades, technological change produced extraordinary economic growth, leading to talk of a "new era" and triggering a bull market in stocks that terminated in a market collapse—widely regarded as the bursting of a speculative bubble. — Milton Friedman, Wall Street Journal, 22 Jan. 2002 As he approached quite close to the enclosure he saw an excited group surrounding the two fugitives, who, trembling with fright and exhaustion, were scarce able to recount the uncanny details of their adventure. — Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes, 1914 She could not teach herself to think favourably of Pansy, whose absence of initiative, of conversation, of personal claims, seemed to her, in a girl of twenty, unnatural and even uncanny. — Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady, 1881 She had an uncanny resemblance to someone I had seen before. She has an uncanny sense of direction. an uncanny ability to predict the weather
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Recent Examples on the Web

This is yet another example of Kate's uncanny ability to pair classic high-end pieces with more affordable, yet still classic clothes. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton's Favorite Casual Boat Shoes Are On Sale," 18 Jan. 2019 Photo: Yohei Osada/AFLO/Zuma Press Making Mbappé’s emergence even starker was his uncanny timing. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "The World Cup’s Breakout Star: Kylian Mbappé," 1 July 2018 With uncanny timing, the day the administration finally got tough on the Kremlin also brought significant new revelations about the special counsel investigation into links between Trump and Russia that are threatening his presidency. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Trump can't escape Washington's Russia fever," 16 Mar. 2018 Because 3,000 miles across the pond, Henry and his Fenway Sports Group have spent nearly a decade running another storied club with a historic home, rabid fan base and uncanny knack for shooting itself in the foot. Jonathan Clegg, WSJ, "A Red Sox Strategy to Conquer the Premier League," 31 Oct. 2018 Yet, through admirable organisation and sheer doggedness - as well as an uncanny knack for winning penalty shootouts - Jürgen Klinsmann's side had defeated a technically superior Argentina side in the quarter-final. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 3 Weeks to Go - Masterful Italy Edge Past Hosts Germany in Unforgettable Clash," 31 May 2018 Humans, meanwhile, have this uncanny knack for telling when something is just....off. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Why Any Good Fusion Reactor Needs a Decent Set of Speakers," 26 Apr. 2016 Anyone who’s been up close and personal with an industrial robot will tell you that these machines have an uncanny, almost unsettling presence. James Vincent, The Verge, "Teaching robots body language offers common ground for humans and machines," 11 Nov. 2018 People promptly made comparisons to Joey wearing all of Chandler's clothes in Friends—and the similarities are actually quite uncanny. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Balenciaga Is Selling a Seven-Layer Jacket for $9,000," 30 Aug. 2018

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

1773, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Dictionary Entries near uncanny

uncanceled

uncandid

uncandor

uncanny

uncanonical

uncanonize

uncap

Statistics for uncanny

Last Updated

25 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for uncanny

The first known use of uncanny was in 1773

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More Definitions for uncanny

uncanny

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of uncanny

: strange or unusual in a way that is surprising or difficult to understand

uncanny

adjective
un·​can·​ny | \ ˌən-ˈka-nē \

Kids Definition of uncanny

1 : strange or unusual in a way that is surprising or mysterious an uncanny resemblance
2 : suggesting powers or abilities greater than normal an uncanny sense of direction

Other Words from uncanny

uncannily \ -​ˈka-​nə-​lē \ adverb They look uncannily similar.

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More from Merriam-Webster on uncanny

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with uncanny

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for uncanny

Spanish Central: Translation of uncanny

Nglish: Translation of uncanny for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of uncanny for Arabic Speakers

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