Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Nov 15 22:01:53 UTC 2009

Allow me to suggest that the OED definition is a poor one, at least in my
experience. Note, too, how the at least the first three of the four cites
are  from Scots/ Scots English sources, the latet being 1875.

In fact, I think def. 1 could use some work as well.

Also, while this particular reminder might be considered "fear-inspiring,"
"gloomy" is a big stretch in context, and "weird" and "strange" are out.

Cf. Merriam-Webster:

"_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>

Christiane Amanpour's use today of "eerie" is thus either wrong or novel.
Take your pick.


On Sun, Nov 15, 2009 at 3:32 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: eerie
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> How about "2. Fear-inspiring; gloomy, strange, weird"?  Although
> perhaps to Jon 1792 is recent.
> Joel
> At 11/15/2009 02:04 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> >CNN says that the thwarting of a terrorist plot against the NYC subway
> >system is "an eerie reminder" of the Brcelona subway attack.
> >
> >"Dramatic," "troubling," yes. But not "eerie."  Until recently.
> >
> >JL
> >--
> >"There You Go Again...Using Reason on the Planet of the Duck-Billed
> >Platypus"
> >
> >------------------------------------------------------------
> >The American Dialect Society -
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> The American Dialect Society -

"There You Go Again...Using Reason on the Planet of the Duck-Billed

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