See also: WEIRD and weïrd

English edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English werde, wierde, wirde, wyrede, wurde, from Old English wyrd (fate), from Proto-West Germanic *wurdi, from Proto-Germanic *wurdiz, 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 obsolete by the 16th century in English. It survived in Middle Scots, whence Shakespeare borrowed it in naming the Weird Sisters (originally Weyward Sisters, the Three Witches), reintroducing it to English. The senses “abnormal”, “strange” etc. arose via reinterpretation of Weird Sisters and date from after this reintroduction.

Pronunciation edit

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈwɪə(ɹ)d/, /ˈwiːə(ɹ)d/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈwiɚd/, /ˈwɪɚd/
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  • Rhymes: -ɪə(ɹ)d

Adjective edit

weird (comparative weirder, superlative weirdest)

  1. Having an unusually strange character or behaviour.
    Synonyms: odd, oddball, peculiar, strange, wacko, Thesaurus:insane
    There are lots of weird people in this place.
  2. Deviating from the normal; bizarre.
    Synonyms: bizarre, odd, out of the ordinary, strange, (dialectal or archaic) fremd, Thesaurus:strange
    It was quite weird to bump into all my ex-girlfriends on the same day.
  3. Relating to weird fiction ("a macabre subgenre of speculative fiction").
    a weird story
    • 1978, Jeffrey Helterman, Richard Layman, editors, Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 2: American Novelists Since World War II, Detroit, M.A.: Gale Research Company, →ISBN, page 62, column 1:
      In his introduction to the 1955 volume, [Ray] Bradbury singles out these stories as oddities in his canon — he wrote this kind of tale before his twenty-sixth birthday (1946), and rarely since. They are pure fantasy of the "weird" sort and include some of Bradbury's most striking pieces: "The Scythe" (1943), "The Lake" (1944), "The Jar" (1944), "Skeleton" (1945), and "The Small Assassin" (1946)
  4. (archaic) Of or pertaining to the Fates.
    Synonym: fateful
    (Can we find and add a quotation to this entry?)
  5. (archaic) Connected with fate or destiny; able to influence fate.
  6. (archaic) Of or pertaining to witches or witchcraft; supernatural; unearthly; suggestive of witches, witchcraft, or unearthliness; wild; uncanny.
    • c. 1606 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene v], page 134, column 1:
      Whiles I ſtood rapt in the wonder of it, came Miſſiues from the King, who all-hail'd me Thane of Cawdor, by which Title before, these weyward Sisters saluted me, and referr'd me to the comming on of time, with haile, King that ſhalt be.
    • 1847 November 1, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie, Boston, Mass.: William D. Ticknor & Company, →OCLC, part I, page 134:
      Those sweet, low tones, that seemed like a weird incantation.
    • 1902, John Buchan, The Outgoing of the Tide:
      It may be in that dark hour at the burn-foot, before the spate caught her, she had been given grace to resist her adversary and fling herself upon God's mercy. And it would seem that it had been granted; for when he came to the Skerburnfoot, there in the corner sat the weird wife Alison, dead as a stone.
    • 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.
  7. (archaic) Having supernatural or preternatural power.
    Synonyms: eerie, spooky, uncanny
    There was a weird light shining above the hill.

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Noun edit

weird (plural weirds)

  1. (archaic) Fate; destiny; luck.
    Synonyms: kismet, lot, orlay, wyrd
    • 1965, Poul Anderson, The Corridors of Time, page 226:
      Step by reluctant step, he had come to know his weird. The North must be saved from her.
    • 1912, Arthur S. Way, transl., Medea, Heinemenn, translation of original by Euripides, published 1946, page 361:
      In the weird of death shall the hapless be whelmed, and from Doom’s dark prison
      Shall she steal forth never again.
  2. A prediction.
    Synonyms: foretale, foretelling; see also Thesaurus:prediction
  3. (obsolete, Scotland) A spell or charm.
    Synonym: enchantment
    • 1813, Walter Scott, The Bridal of Triermain:
      Thou shalt bear thy penance lone
      In the Valley of Saint John,
      And this weird shall overtake thee
  4. That which comes to pass; a fact.
  5. (archaic, in the plural, personification) The Fates.
    Synonym: Norns
  6. (informal) Weirdness.
    • 2019, Justin Blackburn, The Bisexual Christian Suburban Failure Enlightening Bipolar Blues, page 33:
      You know why it feels so good to be amongst real friends? They allow you to be your weird and love you for it. Imagine how it would feel to freely let your weird out and have the world love you for it.

Derived terms edit

Verb edit

weird (third-person singular simple present weirds, present participle weirding, simple past and past participle weirded)

  1. (transitive) To destine; doom; change by witchcraft or sorcery.
  2. (transitive) To warn solemnly; adjure.

Adverb edit

weird (not comparable)

  1. (nonstandard) In a strange manner. [from 1970s]
    Synonyms: funny, strangely, weirdly
    • 1972, Edwin Shrake, Strange Peaches: A Novel[1]:
      I waltzed into that club just as straight as a goose and I kept tripping over things and people were looking at me weird.
    • 1974, Vernard Eller, The Most Revealing Book of the Bible: Making Sense Out of Revelation[2]:
      Man, you're talking weird!

Usage notes edit

As an adverb, weird is only used to modify verbs, and is always positioned after the verb it modifies. Unlike weirdly, it cannot modify an adjective (as in "She was weirdly generous.") or an entire sentence (as in "Weirdly, no-one spoke up.").

References edit

Anagrams edit

French edit

Etymology edit

Borrowed from English weird.

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

weird (plural weirds)

  1. (North America, informal) weird, bizarre

Middle English edit

Noun edit

weird

  1. Alternative form of werde

Scots edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

Inherited from Middle English werde, wirde, wyrde, from Old English wyrd (fate, destiny), from Proto-Germanic *wurdiz.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

weird (plural weirds)

  1. fate, fortune, destiny, one's own particular fate or appointed lot
  2. event destined to happen, a god's decree, omen, prophecy, prediction. Old Scots Proverb: "Before wierd, there's word" i.e., before a divine event there's a warning.
  3. wizard, warlock, one having deep or supernatural skill or knowledge

Derived terms edit

Adjective edit

weird (comparative mair weird, superlative maist weird)

  1. troublesome, mischievous, harmful

Verb edit

weird (third-person singular simple present weirds, present participle weirdin, simple past weirdit, past participle weirdit)

  1. to ordain by fate, destine, assign a specific fate or fortune to, allot
  2. to imprecate, invoke
  3. to prophesy, prognosticate the fate of, warn ominously