noun \ˈwird\

Definition of weird

  1. 1 :  fate, destiny; especially :  ill fortune

  2. 2 :  soothsayer

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

Origin and Etymology of weird

Middle English wird, werd, from Old English wyrd; akin to Old Norse urthr fate, Old English weorthan to become — more at worth

First Known Use: before 12th century



adjective \ˈwird\

Definition of weird

  1. 1 :  of, relating to, or caused by witchcraft or the supernatural :  magical

  2. 2 :  of strange or extraordinary character :  odd, fantastic





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 Nadis, Astronomy, October 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 Atkinson, Case Histories, 2004

  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 Lodge, The Art of Fiction, 1992

  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.

Did You Know?

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

see 1weird

First Known Use: 15th century

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

WEIRD Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of weird for English Language Learners

  • : unusual or strange

WEIRD Defined for Kids


adjective \ˈwird\

Definition of weird for Students




  1. :  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.

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