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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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A Word A Day — uncanny


Good morning, Netizens...



October 20, 2012

Word of the Day


  • uncanny

  • audio pronunciation

  • \un-KAN-ee\





: eerie, mysterious


: being beyond what is normal or expected



Our waiter had an uncanny resemblance to the creepy villain in the film we had just seen.

"When Sherlock Holmes walks into a crime scene, he displays the uncanny ability to deduce how the crime unfolded: where the criminal entered, how the victim was murdered, what weapons were used, and so on." — From an article by Jimmy Stamp on's Design Decoded blog, August 14, 2012



"Weird" and "eerie" are synonyms of "uncanny," but there are subtle differences in the meanings of the three words. "Weird" may be used to describe something that is generally strange or out of the ordinary. "Eerie" suggests an uneasy or fearful consciousness that some kind of mysterious and malign powers are at work, while "uncanny," which debuted in the 18th century, implies disquieting strangeness or mysteriousness. English also has a word "canny," but "canny" and "uncanny" should not be interpreted as opposites. "Canny," which first appeared in English in the 16th century, means "clever," "shrewd" or "prudent," as in "a canny lawyer" or "a canny investment."

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.