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Everyday Weirdness (September 30th 2014)

Everyday Weirdness

Welcome to Everyday Weirdness, a daily source for tidbits of weird...

Everyday Weirdness collects weird works—prose & poetry, artwork & illustration, and a variety of other media—and strives to publish them 7 days a week for your enjoyment.

eve·ry·day (ěv'rē-dā') adj.
1. found in the ordinary course of events;

weird (wîrd) adj.
1. of, relating to, or suggestive of the preternatural or supernatural.
2. of a strikingly odd or unusual character; strange.
3. Archaic, of or relating to fate or the Fates.

Weird may suggest the operation of supernatural influences, or merely the odd or unusual:
“The person of the house gave a weird little laugh”—Charles Dickens
“There is a weird power in a spoken word”
—Joseph Conrad

Eerie inspires fear or uneasiness and implies a sinister influence:
“At nightfall on the marshes, the thing was eerie and fantastic to behold”
—Robert Louis Stevenson

Uncanny refers to what is unnatural and peculiarly unsettling:
“The queer stumps ... had uncanny shapes, as of monstrous creatures”
—John Galsworthy

Unearthly seems so strange and unnatural as to come from or belong to another world:
“He could hear the unearthly scream of some curlew piercing the din”
—Henry Kingsley

[Origin: Middle English werde, fate, having power to control fate, from Old English wyrd, fate]

Wyrd is a concept in Old English and Old Norse culture roughly corresponding to fate or karma. In Anglo-Saxon literature, “Wyrd” is the name of the personified goddess of fate, “the lord of every man,” equivalent to the Norse Norns, and the Greek Moirae (past, present, future). The word is also a common noun; each man has his own wyrd, or destiny. In a simple sense, Wyrd refers to how past actions continually affect and condition the future, but also how the future affects the past.

In Chaucer we find these lines:

“But O, Fortune, executrice of wierdes.” (But O, Fortune, executor of fate.)
Troilus and Criseyde, III. 617.

“The Wirdes, that we clepen Destinee.” (The Weirds, that we call Destiny.)
The Legend of Good Women, 2580.

Weird was brought into modern English from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The three witches are designated as “the weird sisters,” again, relating back to the Norns and the Moirae, the sisters present themselves and predict Macbeth’s the past, present, and future.

Macbeth. Speak, if you can: what are you?
First Witch. All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!
Second Witch. All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!
Third Witch. All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!

Macbeth I. iii.

Sources:

Dictionary.com: Weird

Wikipeda: Wyrd

The Views About Hamlet and Other Essays by Albert Harris Tolman.
New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1904

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