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

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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

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 Nathaniel and Rachel remained under the care of a series of strangers whose nicknames and physical eccentricities are positively Dickensian., "Michael Ondaatje crafts a superb wartime mystery," 3 May 2018 French art-movie needler Bruno Dumont makes films that might be described as staring contests with the viewer: Who will blink first, the moviegoer confronted with the penetrating, often religiously tinged eccentricities on display? Robert Abele,, "Bruno Dumont's 'Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc' riffs on future saint as proto-punk," 3 May 2018 While West has managed to quash expectations with his sturdy work ethic, his eccentricity is what always allows him to stand out in a room full of vultures. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "Kanye West Receives Autographed Dennis Rodman Jersey, Calls Him 'One of His Biggest Inspirations'," 10 July 2018 Mame’s eccentricities come across as gestures rather than expressions of bone-deep opposition to convention, as affectations rather than a way of life that is central to her identity. Don Aucoin,, "A ‘Mame’ that’s a bit short on magic," 7 June 2018 Middle-aged couples from the Marais or recent graduates of Middlebury would have known nothing of Mr. Vassell, his eccentricities and patterns, the thinking goes. Ginia Bellafante, New York Times, "A Fear Born of Brooklyn Gentrification," 9 Apr. 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.

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First Known Use of eccentricity

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for eccentricity

Last Updated

7 Aug 2018

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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



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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Comments on eccentricity

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alleviating pain or harshness

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