ec·​cen·​tric·​i·​ty | \ˌek-(ˌ)sen-ˈtri-sə-tē \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

The sons’ careers have been obsessively scrutinized in the media, from their enormous salary deals to their inexplicable losing streaks and personal eccentricities. S.c. Gwynne, WSJ, "‘In the Name of the Father’ Review: The Manning Mystique," 31 Aug. 2018 London women seemed more open to eccentricity than New Yorkers; less uniformly polished. Jessica Berger Gross, Longreads, "Gone Gray," 10 July 2018 Arriving in 2008, Philo took a previously staid brand and remade it in her own image, infusing it with sensuality, modernity and more than just a hint of eccentricity. New York Times, "11 Women on Phoebe Philo’s Céline Era," 1 Mar. 2018 According to costume designer Keith Madden, Patrick comes from a British upper class that doesn’t follow fashion, but favors traditional dress that might be embellished with a twist of eccentricity. Joy Press, HWD, "Patrick Melrose: How Benedict Cumberbatch Climbed Inside His Favorite Antihero," 5 June 2018 Here was an excitingly original, strikingly ambitious novel about, among other things, genius, the costs of eccentricity, and the loneliness lurking in the possession of immense intelligence. James Wood, The New Yorker, "Helen DeWitt Has Your Number," 27 Oct. 2017 Less a definitive portrait than a rare opportunity to hang out with one of jazz's most intriguing living personalities, Jake Meginsky's Milford Graves: Full Mantis may look to some viewers like a case study in eccentricity. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Milford Graves: Full Mantis': Film Review," 11 July 2018 Still, the humour and eccentricity of Mr Lynch’s own reminiscences and observations are the book’s main pleasure. The Economist, "David Lynch’s memoir illuminates the origins of his art," 14 June 2018 Some, like Vermont’s (sweet) boiled cider pie, or Florida’s fried alligator bites, are true regional eccentricities. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "6 New(ish) Books You Still Have Time to Order Before Father's Day," 8 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of eccentricity

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about eccentricity

Share eccentricity

Statistics for eccentricity

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for eccentricity

The first known use of eccentricity was in 1545

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for eccentricity



English Language Learners Definition of eccentricity

: the quality of being strange or unusual in behavior

: an act or habit that is strange or unusual

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on eccentricity

What made you want to look up eccentricity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!