Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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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.

[Etym. obscure. N.Mid.Eng. eri, c.1300, O.Sc. hery, a.1400, ery, 1501, erie, 1572, id.]

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"Eerie adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Dec 2017 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/eerie>

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