“Each city roundabout is being designed by a different local business, some with OUTLANDISH sculptures as their centre-pieces”
No idea is so OUTLANDISH that it should not be considered with a searching, but at the same time, a steady eye.
- strikingly out of the ordinary, bizarre (an outlandish costume)
- exceeding proper or reasonable limits or standards (outlandish behaviour)
- remote from civilization
- of or relating to another country, foreign (outdated definition)
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Outlandish stems from the Old English “utlendisc” (of a foreign country) and “utland” (foreign country). The sense of “unfamiliar, strange, odd, bizarre” (such as the customs of foreigners may seem to natives) is first evidenced in 1596. Outlander in South African English had a specific sense of “not of Boer birth” (1892) and was a borrowed translation of the South African Dutch “uitlander.”
Although outlandish officially includes definitions that mean foreign countries and out-of-the-way places, modern usage is more or less limited to describing behaviour, style or things people do or say. Mankind provides no shortage of examples. In the early days of his career, pop titan Elton John was famous for his outlandish costumes, including bizarre eyeglasses. Elvis Presley’s hip-swinging was once considered outlandish.
WHEN OUTLANDISH BECOMES THE NEW NORMAL
Many people have made outlandish claims over the centuries. Some claims, which at first seemed outlandish, turned out to be not so strange after all. Christopher Columbus was ridiculed for his idea that the earth was round, not flat, until he proved that he could sail around the world without falling off the edge.
American astronomer Percival Lowell is chiefly remembered for two seemingly outlandish claims he once made: that a planet would be found beyond Neptune, and that canals of flowing water would be found on Mars. He was half-right on both counts. In 1930, tiny Pluto (whose claim to planethood is still disputed in many quarters) was spotted from Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. And more than 70 years later, NASA scientists announced that the Phoenix Mars lander discovered water ice on the Red Planet.
SYNONYMS for outlandish
- significantly or brazenly odd or bizarre in nature
- having a strange, curious or mysterious nature
- far beyond the norm
- considered to be lacking appropriate behaviour
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SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation today, say something like:
“His OUTLANDISH behaviour at the convention definitely affected his promotion chances.”
THANKS to Hansjoerg for suggesting today’s word!
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