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adjective ec·cen·tric \ik-ˈsen-trik, ek-\

Simple Definition of eccentric

  • : tending to act in strange or unusual ways

  • : strange or unusual

  • : not following a perfectly circular path

Full Definition of eccentric

  1. 1 a :  deviating from an established or usual pattern or style <eccentric products> b :  deviating from conventional or accepted usage or conduct especially in odd or whimsical ways <an eccentric millionaire>

  2. 2 a :  deviating from a circular path; especially :  elliptical 1 <an eccentric orbit> b :  located elsewhere than at the geometrical center; also :  having the axis or support so located <an eccentric wheel>

ec·cen·tri·cal·ly play \-tri-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of eccentric

  1. It was Charles Darwin's eccentric mathematician cousin Francis Galton who in 1874 ignited the nature-nurture controversy. … —Matt Ridley, Time, 2 June 2003

  2. Eccentric drifters that normally roam the farthest reaches of the solar system, these daredevils fly so close to the Sun that they pass through its scorching corona. —Maggie McKee, Astronomy, December 2002

  3. In the spit-and-polish Navy, he and his equally unkempt colleagues were regarded as eccentric. —David M. Kennedy, Atlantic, March 1999

  4. He was a kind but eccentric man.

  5. She's become more eccentric over the years.

Origin of eccentric

Middle English, from Medieval Latin eccentricus, from Greek ekkentros, from ex out of + kentron center

First Known Use: circa 1630

Synonym Discussion of eccentric

strange, singular, unique, peculiar, eccentric, erratic, odd, quaint, outlandish mean departing from what is ordinary, usual, or to be expected. strange stresses unfamiliarity and may apply to the foreign, the unnatural, the unaccountable <a journey filled with strange sights>. singular suggests individuality or puzzling strangeness <a singular feeling of impending disaster>. unique implies singularity and the fact of being without a known parallel <a career unique in the annals of science>. peculiar implies a marked distinctiveness <the peculiar status of America's first lady>. eccentric suggests a wide divergence from the usual or normal especially in behavior <the eccentric eating habits of preschoolers>. erratic stresses a capricious and unpredictable wandering or deviating <a friend's suddenly erratic behavior>. odd applies to a departure from the regular or expected <an odd sense of humor>. quaint suggests an old-fashioned but pleasant oddness <a quaint fishing village>. outlandish applies to what is uncouth, bizarre, or barbaric <outlandish fashions of the time>.

Rhymes with eccentric



noun ec·cen·tric \ik-ˈsen-trik, ek-\

Simple Definition of eccentric

  • : a person who acts in strange or unusual ways : an eccentric person

Full Definition of eccentric

  1. 1 :  a mechanical device consisting of an eccentric (see 1eccentric) disk communicating its motion to a rod so as to produce reciprocating motion

  2. 2 :  a person who behaves in odd or unusual ways :  an eccentric person

Examples of eccentric

  1. To his own townspeople Thoreau was a radical and an eccentric, a man without a vocation, supporting himself doing odd jobs, devoting himself to what seemed to them inconsequential rambles, and living like a hermit on the shores of Walden Pond. —Maxine Kumin, In Deep, 1987

  2. But Mozart was also an eccentric, brought up not as a creature of society but as a prodigious child speaking a language of sound. Mozart couldn't “handle people,” as one former friend put it. —Edward Rothstein, New York Times Book Review, 31 Oct. 1982

  3. It wasn't until she [Mother Teresa] had set up a leprosarium outside Calcutta on land provided by the government that I began to see her as an idealist rather than an eccentric. —Bharati Mukherjee, Time, 14 June 1999

  4. <an eccentric who designed his house to look like a Scottish castle>

Origin of eccentric

(see 1eccentric)

First Known Use: 1827

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February 9, 2016

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