I opine

“eldritch”: Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s Word of the Day

Posted in music, words by jaeminuf on October 28, 2008

Today’s word of the day is “eldritch,” meaning “weird” or “eerie.”

The Word of the Day for October 28, 2008 is:

eldritch • \EL-dritch\ adjective

: weird, eerie

Example Sentence:

Christina accompanied her ghost story by playing a recording filled with creaks, howls, and other eldritch sound effects.

Did you know?

“Curse,” “cobweb,” “witch,” “ghost,” and even “Halloween” — all of these potentially spooky words have roots in Old English. “Eldritch,” also, comes from a time when otherworldly beings were commonly thought to inhabit the earth. The word is about 500 years old and believed to have come from Middle English “elfriche,” meaning “fairyland.” The two components of “elfriche” — “elf” and “riche” — come from the Old English “ælf” and “rīce” (words which meant, literally, “elf kingdom”). Robert Louis Stevenson wasn’t scared of “eldritch.” He used the term in his novel Kidnapped: “‘The curse on him and his house, byre and stable, man, guest, and master, wife, miss, or bairn — black, black be their fall!’ –The woman, whose voice had risen to a kind of eldritch sing-song, turned with a skip, and was gone.”


When I saw the word and the definition, a lightbulb went off.

During my teenhood, I was more than a wee bit into gothic rock (or what kids these days call “goth”). And of course, I loved the Sisters of Mercy. Who could not love Dominion/Mother Russia?

But why am I going on about the Sisters of Mercy in relation to “eldritch,” today’s Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary Word of the Day? Andrew Eldritch, the lead singer of the Sisters of Mercy. How apropos for the last name of one of goth music’s leading figures to mean “eerie” and “weird.” Of course, I realize that this was no mere coincidence, but that’d make me heart Andrew Eldritch even more.