Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Mysterious or impossible to explain, especially when causing uneasiness or astonishment. synonym: weird.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Not canny, in any sense.
  • Eery; weird; mysterious; apparently not of this world; hence, noting one supposed to possess preternatural powers.
  • Severe, as a fall or blow.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Not canny; unsafe; strange; weird; ghostly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective strange, and mysteriously unsettling (as if supernatural); weird
  • adjective Careless.

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

  • adjective suggesting the operation of supernatural influences
  • adjective surpassing the ordinary or normal

Etymologies

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

[un– + canny, fortunate, safe (obsolete).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From un- +‎ canny; thus “beyond one′s ken,” or outside one′s familiar knowledge or perceptions.

Examples

  • The Polar Express, even before the term uncanny valley was coined in 1970, Disney was giving us the willies with lifelike machines.

    Wired Top Stories

  • And Roboticist Masahiro Mori used the term uncanny valley to describe the disconcerting reaction people had to robots as they became more human-like in their appearance.

    Kotaku

  • And Roboticist Masahiro Mori used the term uncanny valley to describe the disconcerting reaction people had to robots as they became more human-like in their appearance.

    Kotaku

  • In fact, in so far as the uncanny is also a signifier to which a real world referent can be attached we might be even more dubious.

    Narrative Grammars

  • And in so far as the uncanny is a signifier to which a real world referent can be attached -- the bestial amorality at the heart of human nature, the id unbound -- we might be equally dubious of the acts of validation carried out in the revelations of Horror.

    Narrative Grammars

  • In fact, in so far as the uncanny is also a signifier to which a real world referent can be attached we might be even more dubious.

    Archive 2008-01-01

  • And in so far as the uncanny is a signifier to which a real world referent can be attached -- the bestial amorality at the heart of human nature, the id unbound -- we might be equally dubious of the acts of validation carried out in the revelations of Horror.

    Archive 2008-01-01

  • FREED: It's not clear why the mismatch happened, but in trying to explain it, the coroner pointed to what he called the uncanny resemblance between the women, including body type, hair color and facial features.

    CNN Transcript Jun 1, 2006

  • This interest in common things was gratifying to Aunt Charlotte, who distrusted and discouraged his dwelling on what she called the uncanny side of life; but she was anxious, at the same time, that he should not overtax his strength, and gave secret orders to Lubin to see that the young master did not allow his ardour to outrun the dictates of discretion.

    Austin and His Friends

  • The thing was not quite what we call uncanny; the people were so honest, both of them, that the morbid character of like situations was wanting.

    Questionable Shapes

Comments

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  • especially pleasing in the context of this list since uncanny doesn't seem to have much to do with canny

    February 14, 2008

  • “A kind of cross between Helen Traubel and Martha Raye an uncanny amalgam of Joan Sutherland and Phyllis Diller.�?

    -James McCourt

    July 29, 2009