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I can't find much differences among these words above, neither from my what little English experience, nor from my dictionary's translations.

So far, I know at least "odd", "weird" and "strange" have etymological differences thanks to this post, and assume that "eccentric" is a bit near to "crazy", or "unusual" could literally read "not frequently met" and so on.

But I'm still not sure whether they could mean the same thing or tell different aspects of it, when people casually say "He's a ____ guy." or "It's a ____ sight." Are there differences in meaning, nuance or preference?

  • Worth mentioning: funny might not work without more context. When someone says, "He's a funny guy," they are generally referring to his sense of humor, not his quirkiness. However, in another context (such as, "That's a funny smell"), it's more apparent how we are using funny in the sense of odd or unusual. – J.R. Dec 16 '14 at 10:25
  • Thank you, I should have mentioned it too. By the way, "quirky" may be another candidate to my list :) – broccoli forest Dec 16 '14 at 11:41
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I don't think dictionary definitions would help much here, so let me create some example sentences and try to explain the nuances of each word choice that way.

That's bizarre.

This sentence means that something very surprising, shocking, and out-of-the-ordinary occurred.

That's eccentric.

He's eccentric.

"That's eccentric" doesn't sound right. Eccentric is usually used to describe people. "He's eccentric" means that the person behaves very oddly.

That's funny.

That's funny. I would not have expected to find my keys under my couch! Maybe the dog dragged them there?

That's funny. Earlier you said that you hadn't seen Jill all day. But now you're saying that you saw her at the store right next to where the crime occurred. I think you may be lying!

The second sentence has a nuance meaning that the speaker did not expect whatever happened to happen. It conveys puzzlement about the current situation.

Funny can also have a slightly negative connotation. It can be used to accuse people of lying. An example is provided in the third sentence.

That's odd.

Same as "that's funny". The nuance is that the speaker did not expect whatever happened to happen.

That's strange.

Same as "that's funny". The nuance is that the speaker did not expect whatever happened to happen.

That's unusual.

Slightly higher register than "that's funny", "that's odd", and "that's strange". It sounds like a well-reasoned, carefully considered statement rather than a passionate, honest, in-the-moment comment.

That's weird.

That's weird. I would never wear such ugly socks. People would laugh at me.

Same as "that's funny". The nuance is that the speaker did not expect whatever happened to happen.

This word may also have a slightly negative connotation, like in the second sentence. It can convey disapproval of a behavior.

Hope it helps! :)

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    Thank you for your detailed answer! It contains many things I didn't know before. Can I ask you one more thing about "bizarre", that whether this word's point is in "shocking" or in "very out-of-the-ordinary"? – broccoli forest Dec 16 '14 at 16:14
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    Both, I think. It is a level higher than the other words. The other words are on a level of "not normal". Bizarre is more like "almost unbelievable". That's where the shock part comes in. – AdmiralThrawn Dec 16 '14 at 16:23
  • You explained that "weird" may have a slightly negative connotation. But could you further clarify difference between "odd" and "strange", please? – Kosarar Feb 2 '17 at 10:04

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