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What is the difference between that's odd, that's weird, and that's strange?

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What about Bizarre, Exotic and Eccentric. Add them to your question if you think they can be in the list too. –  Meysam Jan 9 '12 at 19:48
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

While they may be used interchangeably in casual conversation, they actually have different meanings. From an etymological dictionary:

  • Odd (a jut of land): something not usual or expected. Has no special positive or negative connotation. Winning a lottery would be odd but neither weird nor strange.

  • Weird (fated): Something supernatural or beyond human understanding. A fortune-teller predicting your future would be weird, but probably neither odd nor strange.

  • Strange (foreign): Something unfamiliar. A type of material (rock, cloth, or such) you've never seen before would be strange but not weird, and odd only if it were otherwise unusual or rare.

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Thank you!!! I think these fine connotations are surely present in the native speakers' subconscious when they use these words. –  brilliant Jan 9 '11 at 21:15
    
Another thing to keep in mind is these are all subjective experiences; what is odd to one person may be strange but not odd to another, weird only to a third, all three to another person, and none to someone else. –  Dour High Arch Jan 9 '11 at 21:39
    
nicely put –  John Satta Jan 9 '11 at 22:22
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There isn't a lot of difference between them - they can be used almost interchangeably. To the extent that there is a difference (and anyone pays attention to the fine gradations in the terms), then:

  • "That's odd" indicates the least surprise.
  • "That's strange" indicates a bit more surprise.
  • "That's weird" indicates more puzzlement and disbelief.

None of them expresses outright disbelief in whatever is being discussed, but there is always a background sentiment of "that should not be happening; are you sure it did?".

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