1

weird

adjective \ ˈwird \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of weird

1 :of strange or extraordinary character :odd, fantastic
2 :of, relating to, or caused by witchcraft or the supernatural :magical

weirdly

adverb

weirdness

noun

weird was our Word of the Day on 02/20/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of weird in a Sentence

  1. Cosmic strings are second only to black holes in the astrophysicist's pantheon of weird objects. They are narrow, ultradense filaments formed during a phase transition—called inflation—within the first microsecond of cosmic history. —Steve NadisAstronomyOctober 2005
  2. If you looked at them closely you realized they were carved with weird, pagan creatures, more like hobgoblins than men, half hidden among trees and leaves—here acanthus and there what looked like a palm tree. —Kate AtkinsonCase Histories2004
  3. As an extended fictional device allegory is used mainly in didactic, satirical fables, such as Gulliver's Travels, Animal Farm and Erewhon. In these masterpieces a surface realism of presentation gives the fantastic events a kind of weird plausibility … —David LodgeThe Art of Fiction1992
  4. My little brother acts weird sometimes.

  5. I heard a weird noise.

  6. That's weird—I put my book down right here just a few minutes ago and now it's gone.

Recent Examples of weird from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'weird.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of weird

from construal as an adjective of 2weird in weird sisters, name for the Fates of Greek and Roman myth (early Scots werd sisteris, Middle English wyrde systeres, Shakespeare weyard/weyward sisters, applied to the witches in Macbeth)

Synonym Discussion of weird

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

2

weird

noun

Definition of weird

1 :fate, destiny; especially :ill fortune

Recent Examples of weird from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'weird.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Shakespeare's Connection to weird

You may know today's word as a generalized term describing something unusual, but weird also has older meanings that are more specific. Weird derives from the Old English noun wyrd, essentially meaning "fate." By the 8th century, the plural wyrde had begun to appear in texts as a gloss for Parcae, the Latin name for the Fates—three goddesses who spun, measured, and cut the thread of life. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Scots authors employed werd or weird in the phrase "weird sisters" to refer to the Fates. William Shakespeare adopted this usage in Macbeth, in which the "weird sisters" are depicted as three witches. Subsequent adjectival use of weird grew out of a reinterpretation of the weird used by Shakespeare.

Origin and Etymology of weird

Middle English wird, werd, going back to Old English wyrd, going back to Germanic *wurdi- "fate, chance" (whence Old Saxon wurđ "fate," Old High German wurt, Old Norse urðr), derivative from the base of *werþan- "to come about, happen, become" — more at 1worth


WEIRD Defined for English Language Learners

weird

adjective

Definition of weird for English Language Learners

  • : unusual or strange


WEIRD Defined for Kids

weird

adjective \ ˈwird \

Definition of weird for Students

weirder; weirdest
:very unusual :strange
  • So what if I have weird eyebrows and funny toes?
  • —Judy Blume, Sheila the Great

History for weird

The adjective weird came from an earlier noun weird, which meant “fate.” In Scotland weird was used as an adjective in the phrase “the Weird Sisters,” a name for the Fates, three goddesses who set human destinies. In his play Macbeth, William Shakespeare adapted this phrase for the eerie sisters who tell Macbeth his fate. So well-known was Shakespeare's usage that the original meaning of weird was forgotten and people assumed that it meant “strange, fantastic”—which accurately described the sisters in the play.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up weird? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to praise usually to excess

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!