eccentricity

noun
ec·​cen·​tric·​i·​ty | \ ˌek-(ˌ)sen-ˈtri-sə-tē How to pronounce eccentricity (audio) \
plural eccentricities

Definition of eccentricity

1a : the quality or state of being eccentric
b : deviation from an established pattern or norm especially : odd or whimsical behavior
2a : a mathematical constant that for a given conic section is the ratio of the distances from any point of the conic section to a focus and the corresponding directrix
b : the eccentricity of an astronomical orbit used as a measure of its deviation from circularity

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Examples of eccentricity in a Sentence

Some people weren't very tolerant of his eccentricity. Talking to her plants is one of her many eccentricities.

Recent Examples on the Web

Britain’s unwritten political order, as the writer George Orwell noted, has always cherished eccentricity; in many other democracies, a formal, constitutional right to free speech reflects long struggles against authoritarianism and theocracy. The Economist, "Blasphemy laws are quietly vanishing in liberal democracies," 25 Aug. 2019 The town of 3,900 is not without its throwback eccentricities. Peter Kiefer, The Hollywood Reporter, "Clint Eastwood Unveils Carmel Haven for Nature-Lovers: "It's Really Come Out the Way I Wanted"," 23 Aug. 2019 Among his eccentricities was a phobia of getting his head wet. Smithsonian, "John Steinbeck’s Epic Ocean Voyage Rewrote the Rules of Ecology," 22 Aug. 2019 But others view the rise of the human remains trade on Instagram as more than a sign of eccentricity, particularly when Instagrammers take real human skulls and give them faux tribal makeovers. Oscar Schwartz, WIRED, "There’s a Thriving Market for Human Body Parts on Instagram," 21 Aug. 2019 Unlike surly, tight-lipped coaches, like Bill Belichick or Gregg Popovich, the players’ refusal to explain themselves is never read as a sign of wizard eccentricity. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "The Profound Silence of Marshawn Lynch," 14 June 2019 Britons, especially Conservative party members, have endless appetite for eccentricity. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "Boris Johnson, the Brexit Illusionist," 28 June 2019 Camp Century was a perfect example of Cold War paranoia and eccentricity: an improbable outpost that was expensive to build, difficult to maintain, and unpleasant to live within. Jon Gertner, WIRED, "The Top Secret Cold War Project That Pulled Climate Science From the Ice," 12 June 2019 Or about how his companion, Rosario Murillo, has acquired all the eccentricities of a dictator’s wife—the crappy poetry readings, the spiritual séances, the crazy makeup, the offering of her own daughter for her husband’s bed. Alma Guillermoprieto, The New York Review of Books, "A Reporting Life in Latin America," 6 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eccentricity.' 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 eccentricity

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for eccentricity

borrowed from Medieval Latin excentricitāt-, excentricitās, from ecentricus, excentricus "not having the earth exactly at its center, eccentric entry 1" + Latin -itāt-, -itās -ity

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Statistics for eccentricity

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for eccentricity

The first known use of eccentricity was in 1545

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More Definitions for eccentricity

eccentricity

noun

English Language Learners Definition of eccentricity

: the quality of being strange or unusual in behavior
: an act or habit that is strange or unusual

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