That Gives Me the Creeps: Idioms for Strange Situations

Strange person in hooded sweatshirt

In a recent post, we mentioned that a stranger isn’t the same as a strange person A stranger is just someone whom you don’t know.  But what if you DO want to talk about strange people or situations—what vocabulary and idioms can you use?

Probably the most common terms are strange and weird.  I can say, “What’s wrong with Jim?  He’s been acting really strangely.  I wonder why he’s been so weird lately.”  We can call a strange person a weirdo.  If you realize that you’re sitting next to a weirdo on the bus, you’ll probably move.
Rat on cat's head

We can also say that something is bizarre.  This adjective means strange / weird.  For example, it would be bizarre for a mouse to chase a cat or for a bus driver to leave the bus with no explanation and not return.

If I locked my door when I left my house in the morning, but come home to find it open, I’d say: “That’s odd” or “That’s peculiar.”  In addition to a situation, I could call a person, clothing, a smell, a taste, or a color odd or peculiar as well.

As in the title, we can say that someone or some place is creepy.  We get creeped out when we are around this person or in this place.  Notice how creepy is the active form of the adjective (like boring, interesting, or confusing).  It describes the noun that causes the response.  Creeped-out is passive (liked bored, interested, or confused).  It describes the feelings of the person on the receiving end.  We can say that someone or something gives us the creeps.  Spiders, graveyards, or just walking alone at night might give you the creeps.

Creepy house in the woodsThis house gives me the creeps.
A very weird doll

This doll is very weird…

Peculiar spiral pepper

A spiral pepper?  How peculiar!

We can also call a situation out of the ordinary.  If you come to work on Monday and usually a receptionist greets you when you walk in, but this time, no one is at the desk—that’s out of the ordinary.

While not a complete list of vocabulary and idioms used to talk about strange things, this will get you started.