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”). 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.
- (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.
- Those sweet, low tones, that seemed like a weird incantation.
- Shakespeare, Macbeth, 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!'
- Victor Whitechurch
- 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 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.
- (having supernatural or preternatural power): eerie, uncanny
- (unusually strange in character or behaviour): fremd, oddball, peculiar, whacko
- (deviating from the normal): bizarre, fremd, odd, out of the ordinary, strange
- (of or pertaining to the Fates): fateful
- See also Thesaurus:strange
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).
- (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
- dree one's weird (“endure one's fate”)
- weirdie (“the smallest or least thriving of a brood”)
- weirdly (“lucky, of prosperous or sinister fate, magical, eerie, dismal”)
- wanweird (“unhappy fate”)