"odd", "weird", "rare" and "strange"

Which are the differences and similitudes in the terms mentioned above? I’ll appreciate if you can give some examples of different uses…

They are nearly interchangeable. The only real difference is “rare,” which is used to mean something low in number – like a valuable antique – rather than something out of the ordinary – like a flying elephant.

Another word that you may encounter in older literature is “queer.” While it has taken on a different meaning these days, it use to mean strange or odd.

I hope I helped some!

I might use “odd” somewhat differently than “weird” or “strange”–for example, I would definitely say “that’s so weird/strange,” but I wouldn’t really say “that’s so odd” (although I could see it happening).

I don’t know…I think that “odd” is a more polite or indirect term than weird or strange. For example, in a more formal conversation you might here “His behavior is rather odd,” but when just casually talking I would say something more like “he’s acting really weird/strange!” (though note that the “correct” way to say it here would be strangely–adverb form; I’m not so sure about “weird”).

“Queer” I don’t see as relevant to today…I’d like to emphasize not to use it, it can be considered an offensive word. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to spell out what it means…if you really want to know, look it up.:slight_smile:

I hope this helped you some! Good luck with your estudias de la lengua inglesa (I hope I said that right)!^^

“The cat’s been acting really strange–I wonder if it’s sick.”(LDOCE)
In the above example “strange” is an adverb and means “strangely.” That is described as American usage.

Weird is one of my favourite words. It means, strictly speaking, supernatural, connected to fate or destiny. see weird - Wiktionary. Nowadays we use it to suggest supernatural or at least very odd causes for a phenomenon.

Eg I heard a weird, wailing noise last night, it must have been a ghost;
compare with:
I heard an odd screeching noise, I think we need to get a plumber to look at the heating pipes.

Rare can mean precious, eg rare stones, but it may just mean very uncommon, eg a rare form of cancer.

Odd means strange, unusual, literally irregular or uneven.
Strange comes from Latin extraneus, “that which is on the outside”, and means, strictly speaking, foreign or outside of what we consider normal.

There is very little difference in practice, perhaps just a shade of implied difference (disapproval or disbelief) when talking about a person or event:

Eg. My son is a rather odd (unusual) boy. He has weird (supernatural?) dreams and the rare (statistically uncommon) ability to play music by ear. Some of his teachers think he is strange (a hint of disapproval in this), the others don’t mind his oddness (no hint of disapproval) and some even find his weird (hint of amusement or disbelief) behaviour interesting.

and i sometimes hear the word “funny” in some situations, native speakers use instead of weird, strange,odd…etc.

Great post Helen!

Wow! Thank all of you!! These are the answers I was looking for!! The little differences in those words, and examples according to your experiences, about what you are used to hear.
Thanks a lot!!

…and of course Skyblueteapot your contribution was exceptional!!

I think skyblueteapot’s post is excellent too. I’d just like to add that as an American, I would use “weird” probably much more often than just to describe something supernatural or close to it. In addition, I realize now that the English would seem to me to use “odd” much more than I would. I hesitate to say “the typical American”…I’m somewhat eccentric.:smiley: