Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
EERIE, adj. Also eery, †e(i)ry, †ir(e)y, †irie. Also used adv. [′i:ri]
1. Of persons: affected by a fear of the supernatural which gives rise to feelings of uneasiness or loneliness; less commonly, apprehensive in general. Gen.(exc. I.)Sc.
Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
In Scotland they say that one is Ery, or Iry, when he is afraid of some Apparition or Ghost, or what he fancies to be one. Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 194:
I'm unco irie and Dirt-feart I make wrang Waft. Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 18–19:
At last the welcome sky began to clear, The birds to chirm, an' day light to appear; This laid her eery thoughts. Ayr. 1786 Burns Halloween xix.:
He whistl'd up lord Lenox' march, To keep his courage cheary; Altho' his hair began to arch, He was sae fley'd an' eerie. Sc. 1823 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 176:
The gudeman, wha was ettling to be Bailie at the first election, grew unco eerie about it. Sc. 1830 Scott Demonology x. 397:
I have been myself at two periods of my life . . . engaged in scenes favourable to that degree of superstitious awe which my countrymen expressively call being eerie. Lnk. 1886 J. Stewart Twa Elders 150:
A story is told, 'twill make you feel errie [sic].
2. Gen. of things: inspiring fear of the supernatural; uncanny, weird, ghostly, strange. Gen.Sc. Now accepted as Eng.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 186:
Death in all his irey pride Devoid of fear behold. Ayr. 1792 Burns Works (1800) II. 404:
Be thou a bogle by the eerie side of an auld thorn, in the dreary glen. Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 105:
The hoolet hoo'd from hollow tree, Mair eerie by the hum of night. Slk. 1885 Blackwood's Mag. (Nov.) 646:
There stands the gudeman's loom That used to gang sae cheerie, Untentit noo, and toom, Makin, a' the hoose sae eerie. Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped xxiv.:
For the best part of three nights [we] travelled on eerie mountains and among the well-heads of wild rivers. Abd. 1920 C. Murray Country Places 40:
Nae cry frae frichtened mawkin, Snared in the dewy grass, Nor eerie oolet huntin' Would wauken you then, my lass. Ags. 1927 V. Jacob Northern Lights 1:
For oh! the North's an eerie land And eerie voices blaw Frae whaur the ghaists o deid men stand Wi' their feet amangst the snaw. m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood ii.:
But it's an eerie bit when the sun's no shinin'.
3. Of persons and things: gloomy, dismal, melancholy.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck I. 275:
He was an unprofitable guest — a dirty droich, an' a menseless glutton — an' it was weak an' silly in ony true Christian to be eiry for him. Bwk. 1832 W. A. Foster in Minstrelsy of the Merse (ed. Crockett 1893) 153:
His sangs gie life when owre a glass — They cheer us when we're eerie. Edb. 1866 J. Smith Poems 48: A lintwhite sat in her mossy nest, Ae eerie morn in spring: An' lang she look'd at the cauld gray lift.
4. Derivs.: (1) eerifu', uncanny; (2) eerily, weirdly, drearily; Gen.Sc.; (3) eeriness, an undefined sense of fear; dread; (4) eeri(e)some, uncanny, gloomy (Sh.10, Abd.27, Fif.16 1949); (5) eeriesomeness, uncanniness, state of being eerie (Abd.27 1949).
(1) Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. 74:
There, whar Will-o'-the Wisp sheds his eerifu' lowe. (2) Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Musings 150:
The win's souchin' eerily. Sc. 1949 R. J. B. Sellar in Scots Mag. (Dec.) 209:
A sudden piercing and eerily-whistling wind leapt out at us to remind us that the orderly seasons don't apply on Ben Muichdhui. (3) Sc. 1724 Ramsay Vision vi. in Evergreen I. 215:
Debar then affar then All Eiryness or Feir. Abd. 1875 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 41–42:
It was with a certain feeling of hesitancy, and even of “eeriness,” that Saunders Malcolmson slowly lifted the latch. (4) Cld. 1818 Edb. Mag. (Dec.) 503:
A' the kye stoppit chowan' their cud, and gied a dowf an' eerisome crune. Abd. 1889 W. Allan Sprays I. 16:
An eerisome mane through the loanin comes doon. Edb. 1891 R. A. Dakers in Mod. Sc. Poets (ed. Edwards) XIV. 147:
But silent it crept by the spreadin' beech tree. . . . An' 'twas far on its eeriesome flicht to the sea. (5) Sc. 1897 “L. Keith” My Bonnie Lady vi. 60:
The eeriesomeness of the sleeping world had no terrors for her as she stepped out.
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"Eerie adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Mar 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/eerie>
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