Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A thing or occurrence that is markedly unusual or irregular: A freak of nature produced the midsummer snow.
  • n. An abnormally formed organism, especially a person or animal regarded as a curiosity or monstrosity.
  • n. A sudden capricious turn of mind; a whim: "The freaks of the psyche can no more be explained than the Devil” ( Maurice Collis).
  • n. Slang A drug user or addict: a speed freak.
  • n. Slang An eccentric or nonconformist person, especially a member of a counterculture.
  • n. Slang An enthusiast: rock music freaks.
  • adj. Highly unusual or irregular: a freak accident; a freak storm.
  • transitive v. Slang To experience or cause to experience frightening hallucinations or feelings of paranoia, especially as a result of taking a drug. Often used with out.
  • transitive v. Slang To behave or cause to behave irrationally and uncontrollably. Often used with out.
  • transitive v. Slang To become or cause to become greatly excited or upset. Often used with out.
  • n. A fleck or streak of color.
  • transitive v. To speckle or streak with color: "the white Pink, and the Pansy freaked with jet” ( John Milton).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A man, particularly a bold, strong, vigorous man.
  • n. A fellow; a petulant, young man.
  • n. A sudden causeless change or turn of the mind; a whim of fancy; a capricious prank; a vagary or caprice.
  • n. Someone or something that is markedly unusual.
  • n. A hippie.
  • n. A drug addict.
  • n. A nonconformist, especially in appearance, social behavior, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or business practices; an oddball, especially in physiology (i.e., "circus freak"); unique, sometimes in a displeasing way.
  • n. A person whose physique has grown far beyond the normal limits of muscular development; often a bodybuilder weighing more than 120 kilos (260 pounds).
  • n. An enthusiast, or person who has an obsession with, or extreme knowledge of, something.
  • n. A very sexually perverse individual, usually used affectionately or in another good willed context.
  • v. To make greatly distressed and/or a discomposed appearance
  • v. To be placed or place someone under the influence of a psychedelic drug
  • v. To streak
  • v. To experience reality withdrawal, or hallucinations (nightmarish), to behave irrational or unconventional due to drug use.
  • v. To react extremely or irrationally, usually under distress or discomposure
  • adj. strange, weird

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To variegate; to checker; to streak.
  • n. A sudden causeless change or turn of the mind; a whim of fancy; a capricious prank; a vagary or caprice.
  • n. a rare and unpredictable event.
  • n. an habitual drug user, especially one who uses psychedelic drugs.
  • n. an animal or person with a visible congenital abnormality; -- applied especially to those who appear in a circus sideshow.
  • intransitive v. to react with irrationality or extreme emotion; to lose one's composure; -- often used in the phrase freak out.
  • intransitive v. to become irrational or to experience hallucinations under the influence of drugs; -- often used in the phrase freak out.
  • transitive v. to cause (a person) react with great distress or extreme emotion; -- often used in the phrase freak out.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A man,, particularly a bold, strong, vigorous man.
  • n. A fellow; more commonly, a petulant young man.
  • n. A sudden and apparently causeless change or turn of the mind; a wilful whim or vagary; a capricious notion or prank.
  • n. An abnormal object or production; a strange or curious result of real or apparent vagary: as, a freak of art or of nature.
  • To gambol; frolic.
  • To variegate; streak or fleck.
  • n. A splash, fleck, or streak of color.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. lose one's nerve
  • n. someone who is so ardently devoted to something that it resembles an addiction
  • n. a person or animal that is markedly unusual or deformed

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
From freak1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English freke, freike ("a bold man, warrior, man, creature"), from Old English freca ("a bold man, warrior, hero"), from Proto-Germanic *frekô (“an active or eagre man, warrior, wolf”), from Proto-Germanic *frekaz (“active, bold, desirous, greedy”), from Proto-Indo-European *pereg-, *spereg- (“to shrug, be quick, twitch, splash, blast”). Cognate with Old Norse freki ("greedy or avaricious one, a wolf"), Old High German freh ("eager"), Old English frēcne ("dangerous, daring, courageous, bold"). (Wiktionary)
1560, "sudden change of mind, whim", of uncertain origin. Perhaps related to Old English frician ("to leap, dance"), or Middle English frek ("insolent, daring"), from Old English frec ("desirous, greedy, eager, bold, daring"), from Proto-Germanic *frekaz, *frakaz (“hard, efficient, greedy, bold, audacious”). Compare Old High German freh ("eager"), Old English frēcne ("dangerous, daring, courageous, bold"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • In stamp collecting, an abnormal, usually nonrepetitive occurrence in the production of stamps that results in a variation from the normal stamp but falls short of producing an error. Most paper folds, overinking and perforation shifts are freaks. Abnormalities that occur repetitively are called varieties and may result in major errors.

    August 26, 2008