Weird, Freaky, and Trippy – English Vocabulary for the Unusual! Plus a “Weird” video by Duffy!

The weird, the freaky and the trippy !

Today, let’s talk about things that are unusual.  I recently came across (found on accident) a website with all types of strange pictures and photos.

The image below is weird (definition below) because it is an optical illusion – it tricks our eyes.  The horizontal lines don’t look parallel, but actually they are.  Really, I put the picture into Photoshop and  measured them.

Are the lines horizontal or at a slope (angle)?

Are the lines horizontal or at a slope (angle)?

In English we use the word “weird” a lot.  It means “strange”.  If you speak a Latin language, you probably prefer the word “strange”.  We use the word “strange”, too, but be careful “weird” is possibly more common.  “Weird” is a little less formal than “strange”.

If you are referring to a person, you can say…

Ex: He is weird.


Ex: He is a weirdo.

Weirdo” is a little childish, but you still hear it in casual conversation.

Now let’s talk about other ways to express surprise about weird things.  “Freaky” is another common way to express your surprise at weird things.  The picture below is freaky because it is another optical illusion.  It looks like there are many black dots, but when you try to count them, they disappear.  Freaky, huh?

Count the dots

Count the black dots

The word “freaky” has become quite international, but be careful – it changed in translation.  In English “freaky” is an adjective, but in Spanish, for example, it is a noun.

Ex: He is freaky (adjective) = English

Ex: He is a freaky (noun) = normal Spanish, but incorrect English

We would express the Spanish idea like this:

Ex: He is a freak (noun) = English

The difference might seem very small, but the mistake is really obvious to native speakers.

From the word “freak” we obviously get “freaky” and we also get “Freak out”.  “Freak out” is a phrasal verb which means to be extremely surprised and perhaps lose control.

Ex: I freaked out when I won the lottery.

Ex: Don’t freak out, it is just a spider.

Ex: I hope my boss doesn’t freak out when I tell her the news.

And the final word for freaky things is “trippy”.   “Trippy” is defined by nearly all dictionaries as an experience that is similar to an LSD hallucinogenic experience.  This sort of experience was referred to as a trip (like vacation) and the adjective is “trippy”.  Now we use the word for all types of experiences, not just drugs.

Ex: The solar eclipse was really trippy.

Ex: What a trip!  I just saw my best friend in a television advertisement.

Ex: The latest 3D Pixar film was a total trip I felt like I was in the film!

The picture below is trippy because it is another optical illusion.  It looks like the beans are moving but they really aren’t.  It is difficult to believe, isn’t it?  Hold a piece of paper to the screen and you can see that the beans don’t move in relation to the paper.  Kind of hallucinogenic, no?


Are the beans moving or not?

Hey if you want to see a video by Duffy in which she uses the word “weird” a lot, click below:

the “Weird” video by Duffy

It is really late but check back another day and I’ll explain the lyrics.  I am a little tired right now –   midnight, no dinner, you understand (-;

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