eccentric

adjective
ec·​cen·​tric | \ ik-ˈsen-trik How to pronounce eccentric (audio) , ek- \

Definition of eccentric

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : deviating from conventional or accepted usage or conduct especially in odd or whimsical ways an eccentric millionaire
b : deviating from an established or usual pattern or style eccentric products
2a : deviating from a circular path especially : elliptical sense 1 an eccentric orbit
b : located elsewhere than at the geometric center also : having the axis or support so located an eccentric wheel

eccentric

noun

Definition of eccentric (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a person who behaves in odd or unusual ways : an eccentric person
2 : a mechanical device consisting of an eccentric (see eccentric entry 1 sense 2b) disk communicating its motion to a rod so as to produce reciprocating motion

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Other Words from eccentric

Adjective

eccentrically \ ik-​ˈsen-​tri-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce eccentric (audio) , ek-​ \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for eccentric

Adjective

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

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Adjective

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."

Examples of eccentric in a Sentence

Adjective It was Charles Darwin's eccentric mathematician cousin Francis Galton who in 1874 ignited the nature-nurture controversy.  … — Matt Ridley, Time, 2 June 2003 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 In the spit-and-polish Navy, he and his equally unkempt colleagues were regarded as eccentric. — David M. Kennedy, Atlantic, March 1999 He was a kind but eccentric man. She's become more eccentric over the years. Noun 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 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 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 an eccentric who designed his house to look like a Scottish castle
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Iris’s unapologetic, eccentric, over-the-top style has been an inspiration to me and many others. Colleen Sheehan, Town & Country, 9 Sep. 2021 Living at Nomini Hall in 1773, Philip Vickers Fithian marveled over how the generous but eccentric aristocrat weekly allotted each slave 16 pints of dry corn and a pound of meat. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, 5 Sep. 2021 Pearce plays a private investigator hired by a wealthy and eccentric businessman to find his missing daughter, believed to be in the sordid world of the titular Zone 414. Simon Thompson, Forbes, 3 Sep. 2021 As the lifestyle of the Rolling Stones became more extravagant, Watts grew more solitary and eccentric. New York Times, 24 Aug. 2021 Actions that seem eccentric or unconventional could become acceptable under the right circumstances. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, 3 Aug. 2021 This means your muscles are working hard in both the concentric and eccentric portions of the move. SELF, 31 July 2021 Certainly, a culture where niche supplants mass hews closer to the original vision of the Americas, of a new continent truly open to whatever diverse and eccentric groups showed up. James Freeman, WSJ, 12 July 2021 The company went on to list several risks to investors tied to the market volatility driven by robust and eccentric trading interest that can be found on social media and online trading forums. Washington Post, 3 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The novel operates on a kind of dream logic that is dark and disorienting at times, but readers willing to embrace the eccentric will be richly rewarded with Williams’s funny, whip-smart storytelling. Tiana Reid, Vulture, 31 Aug. 2021 Repurposed as the benevolently xenophobic, sexist, and racist Uncle Matthew in Pursuit (played by Dominic West in the new Netflix series), Lord Redesdale was suddenly a recast as an unhinged but lovable eccentric. Lesley M.m. Blume, Town & Country, 31 July 2021 What might appear, at first glance, eccentric in the art of its era redeems itself with a specificity to a time, a place, and a personality, impelling a period style to extremes of authenticity. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 19 July 2021 Contrast that to a move like a squat or a bicep curl, which has both the shortening (concentric) and lengthening (eccentric) phases. Amy Marturana Winderl, SELF, 7 July 2021 He was often treated as an eccentric, and his theatrical dress frequently overshadowed his prowess as a composer. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, 28 June 2021 One of the Silver Bullets belonged to famed aviator and eccentric Howard Hughes. Dennis Wagner, The Arizona Republic, 23 June 2021 With a bad mustache and an eye for the eccentric, California songwriter Jack Shields cold-cocks and kidnaps a country music legend in this deranged bluegrass romp. Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone, 7 June 2021 She has been sent to Big Sur into the arms of an eccentric, beekeeping grandfather. BostonGlobe.com, 3 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eccentric.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of eccentric

Adjective

circa 1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Noun

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for eccentric

Adjective

borrowed from Medieval Latin ecentricus, excentricus "not concentric with another circle, (of a planetary orbit in Ptolemaic astronomy) not having the earth exactly at its center," from Late Latin eccentros, eccentrus "not having the earth at its center" (borrowed from Greek ékkentros, from ek- ec- + -kentros, adjective derivative of kéntron "sting, goad, point, stationary point of a pair of compasses, midpoint of a circle or sphere") + Latin -icus -ic entry 1 — more at center entry 1

Noun

Middle English excentryke "planetary orbit of which the earth is not the center," borrowed from Medieval Latin excentricus, noun derivative of ecentricus, excentricus "(of a planetary orbit in Ptolemaic astronomy) not having the earth exactly at its center" — more at eccentric entry 1

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Time Traveler for eccentric

Time Traveler

The first known use of eccentric was circa 1630

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Dictionary Entries Near eccentric

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Last Updated

24 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Eccentric.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eccentric. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for eccentric

eccentric

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of eccentric

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: tending to act in strange or unusual ways
: strange or unusual
: not following a perfectly circular path

eccentric

noun

English Language Learners Definition of eccentric (Entry 2 of 2)

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

eccentric

adjective
ec·​cen·​tric | \ ik-ˈsen-trik How to pronounce eccentric (audio) , ek- \

Kids Definition of eccentric

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : acting or thinking strangely an eccentric man
2 : not of the usual or normal kind eccentric ideas

eccentric

noun

Kids Definition of eccentric (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who behaves strangely

eccentric

adjective
ec·​cen·​tric | \ ik-ˈsen-trik, ek- How to pronounce eccentric (audio) \

Medical Definition of eccentric

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: deviating from an established pattern or from accepted usage or conduct

Other Words from eccentric

eccentrically \ -​tri-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce eccentric (audio) \ adverb

eccentric

noun

Medical Definition of eccentric (Entry 2 of 2)

: an eccentric individual

More from Merriam-Webster on eccentric

Nglish: Translation of eccentric for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of eccentric for Arabic Speakers

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