Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More
  • eccentric
  • audio pronunciation
  • \ik-SEN-trik\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

1
a : deviating from an established or usual pattern or style b : deviating from conventional or accepted usage or conduct
2
a : deviating from a circular path; especially : elliptical b : located elsewhere than at the geometrical center; also : having the axis or support so located
  • EXAMPLES

Down the road from us lives an eccentric old man who claims that he can communicate with the birds that roost in his yard.

"Behind him at a distance, golfers on the university course attempted to lop small white balls onto large, green, eccentric circles of really short grass." -- From an article by Ed Cullen in The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), April 19, 2011

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"Eccentric" comes to us through Middle English from the Medieval Latin word "eccentricus," but it is ultimately derived from a combination of the Greek words "ex," meaning "out of," and "kentron," meaning "center." The original meaning of "eccentric" in English was "not having the same center" (as in "eccentric spheres"). In this sense, it contrasts with "concentric," meaning "having a common center" (as in "concentric circles, one within another"). But since at least 1630, English speakers have also used "eccentric" to describe individuals who are figuratively off-center. It can also be used to describe something that doesn't follow a truly circular path, as in "an eccentric orbit."

Test Your Memory: What recent Word of the Day means "to express strong disapproval of"? The answer is ...

  • MORE WORDS OF THE DAY

Visit our archives to see previous selections ยป

  • FEATURED ITEM FROM OUR STORE
  • PODCAST

Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP

  • SUBSCRIBE

Subscribe to the Word of the Day e-mail

Manage Your Account