Definition of uncanny
uncannilyplay \ˌən-ˈka-nə-lē\ adverb
uncanninessplay \ˌən-ˈka-nē-nəs\ noun
uncanny was our Word of the Day on 10/20/2012. Hear the podcast!
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
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."
First Known Use of uncanny
Synonym Discussion of uncanny
UNCANNY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of uncanny for English Language Learners
: strange or unusual in a way that is surprising or difficult to understand
UNCANNY Defined for Kids
Definition of uncanny for Students
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
uncannily\-ˈka-nə-lē\ adverb They look uncannily similar.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up uncanny? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).