From Middle English werde, wierde, wirde, wyrede, wurde, from Old English wyrd, wurd (“that which happens, fate, chance, fortune, destiny, Fate, the Fates, Providence, event, phenomenon, transaction, fact, deed”), from Proto-Germanic *wurdiz (“fate, destiny”), from Proto-Indo-European *wert- (“to turn, wind”). Cognate with Icelandic urður (“fate”). Related to Old English weorþan (“to become”). Doublet of wyrd. More at worth.
Weird was extinct by the 16th century in English. It survived in Scots, whence Shakespeare borrowed it in naming the Weird Sisters, reintroducing it to English. The senses "abnormal", "strange" etc. arose via reinterpretation of Weird Sisters and date from after this reintroduction.
- (UK) IPA(key): /ˈwɪəd/, /ˈwiːəd/
- (US) IPA(key): /ˈwiɚd/, /ˈwɪɚd/
Audio (US) (file) Audio (AU) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɪə(r)d
- Having an unusually strange character or behaviour.
- There are lots of weird people in this place.
- Deviating from the normal; bizarre.
- It was quite weird to bump into all my ex-girlfriends on the same day.
- (archaic) Of or pertaining to the Fates.
- (Can we find and add a quotation to this entry?)
- (archaic) Connected with fate or destiny; able to influence fate.
- (archaic) Of or pertaining to witches or witchcraft; supernatural; unearthly; suggestive of witches, witchcraft, or unearthliness; wild; uncanny.
- 1847 November 1, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie, Boston, Mass.: William D. Ticknor & Company, OCLC 12526426, part (please specify either |part=I or II):
- Those sweet, low tones, that seemed like a weird incantation.
- c. 1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act 1, scene 5]:
- Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it, came missives from the king, who all-hailed me, 'Thane of Cawdor'; by which title, before, these weird sisters saluted me, and referred me to the coming on of time, with 'Hail, king that shalt be!'
- 1912, Victor Whitechurch, Thrilling Stories of the Railway
- Naphtha lamps shed a weird light over a busy scene, for the work was being continued night and day. A score or so of sturdy navvies were shovelling and picking along the track.
- (archaic) Having supernatural or preternatural power.
- There was a weird light shining above the hill.
- (having supernatural or preternatural power): eerie, spooky, uncanny
- (unusually strange in character or behaviour): odd, oddball, peculiar, strange, whacko; see also Thesaurus:insane
- (deviating from the normal): bizarre, fremd, odd, out of the ordinary, strange; see also Thesaurus:strange
- (of or pertaining to the Fates): fateful
weird (plural weirds)
- (archaic) Fate; destiny; luck.
- A prediction.
- (obsolete, Scotland) A spell or charm.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir Walter Scott to this entry?)
- That which comes to pass; a fact.
- (archaic, in the plural) The Fates (personified).
- (fate; destiny): kismet, lot, orlay, wyrd
- (luck): fortune, luck; see also Thesaurus:luck
- (prediction): foretale, foretelling, prognostication; see also Thesaurus:prediction
- (spell or charm): enchantment, incantation, cantrip
- (The Fates): The Norns
- (transitive) To destine; doom; change by witchcraft or sorcery.
- (transitive) To warn solemnly; adjure.
weird (plural weirds)
- fate, fortune, destiny, one's own particular fate or appointed lot
- event destined to happen, a god's decree, omen, prophecy, prediction
- wizard, warlock, one having deep or supernatural skill or knowledge