There’s no consensus on what ingredients belong in ambrosia salad, the traditional Thanksgiving treat—or on whether it actually is a treat—but we’re certain that the word ambrosia comes from a Greek word for the food (or drink or anointing oil) of the gods, which was believed to confer immortality. The English adjective, ambrosial, describes something unusually delicious or fragrant—heavenly, you could say. Ambrosial food, wine, nectar, tea, and scent are some of its most frequent uses. With the adjective ambrosial, you can turn a cocktail into an elixir of youth.
Both words suggest something distinctly out of the ordinary that excites fear or curiosity. Strange is the more common, broader term with a number of dictionary definitions. It can refer to something unfamiliar (strange faces) or a subjective state (felt strange), but the sense pertinent here refers to something that is unusual, odd, or extraordinary: strange sounds; strange behavior. Strange often implies causing uneasiness or fear, but the effects of uncanny can be downright eerie. Something uncanny is out of the ordinary but also hard to believe or account for, so that it sometimes evokes the supernatural: uncanny intuition; an uncanny ability to know what I’m thinking. Resemblances are one of uncanny’s most frequent uses in addition to uncanny similarities and uncanny impersonations.
Both words describe something that does not take a direct or straight course from point A to point B. You might take an indirect route home in order to enjoy new sights or to avoid traffic. An indirect route is not necessarily circuitous, but it could be if it’s particularly or unnecessarily complex, lengthy, or roundabout. A circuitous route, road, journey, or process may be twisty and windy or make a circular course to reach the destination. The word can be neutral or have a negative connotation. A circuitous argument, for example, does not get straight to the point and rambles or meanders.