uncanny

adjective
un·​can·​ny | \ ˌən-ˈka-nē How to pronounce uncanny (audio) \
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 How to pronounce uncannily (audio) \ adverb
uncanniness \ ˌən-​ˈka-​nē-​nəs How to pronounce uncanniness (audio) \ 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

Erica is a math whiz with an uncanny understanding of economics for a 10-year-old. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "Stranger Things season 3 goes full Aliens with its action," 5 July 2019 The body battery measurement is so accurate as to feel uncanny. Wired Staff, WIRED, "From Cameras to Kayaks, All the Stuff We Loved This Month," 30 June 2019 Haim Rechtshaid produced nearly all of Haim’s second album, 2017’s Something to Tell You, fine-tuning its pop-rock grooves and uncanny harmonies while the trio toured behind its 2013 debut, Days Are Gone. Chris Payne, Billboard, "Ariel Rechtshaid Talks Working With Vampire Weekend, Reveals What To Expect From Haim and Adele," 28 June 2019 The key takeaway 50 years after the events at Stonewall is that whatever took place there provided uncanny power to fuel an ongoing LGBT rights movement, no matter what people want to call it. Time, "Was Stonewall a Riot, an Uprising or a Rebellion?," 24 June 2019 The uncanny little boy; the charismatic, slightly mournful young man; the shape-shifting child-man-woman-cyborg-extraterrestrial. Margo Jefferson, Harper's magazine, "Lost Boy," 24 June 2019 Mr Liu’s stories are scientifically rigorous; Mr Han’s are allegorical and uncanny—but also grittier and more subversive. The Economist, "China’s grand, gloomy sci-fi is going global," 22 June 2019 Morant became a household name during the 2018-19 college basketball season, coming from off the radar to the top of NBA draft boards thanks to his high-flying dunks, hot shooting and uncanny court vision. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Ja rules: Murray State star Ja Morant makes history as No. 2 pick in NBA draft," 20 June 2019 Rango the dog has fallen for Steve’s uncanny door knocking imitation too many times and is starting to catch on by not losing his mind barking at nobody. azcentral, "A red-brick ranch in Glendale is more than a home. Take a look inside the pet sanctuary and urban farm," 20 June 2019

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

12 Jul 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 How to pronounce uncanny (audio) \

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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appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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