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

Other comics were eating dinner in the green room, including Bobby Collins, a New Yorker with impeccable timing who skewers traffic, car chases, Santa Ana winds and the eccentricities that flash and coil through the Los Angeles psyche. Jeffrey Fleishman,, "Did she swallow helium? Let's take the high-pitched comedy of Erica Rhodes seriously," 7 June 2019 The shape of the portrait — the distance of the various wings from the main body, and the eccentricities of their orbits — would vary depending on when it was drawn. Richard Brookhiser, National Review, "Moving Portrait," 4 June 2019 That's a testament to Britton, who does a scary-good job at playing aloof to John's eccentricities while also gaining empathy from the audience. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Dirty John Is the Break I Didn’t Know I Needed From All the Christmas Cheer on TV," 26 Nov. 2018 Each brought a special joy, an irreducible quirk, a unique, surprising eccentricity. Mark Oppenheimer, WSJ, "Yes, We Really Do Want to Have a Fifth Child," 24 Aug. 2018 Yet despite the diversity on display, the playful eccentricity unique to Risso guided their hands—and in Page’s case, resulted in one awfully clever discovery. Monica Kim, Vogue, "This Unexpectedly Brilliant Black Shadow Is the Marni Woman’s Secret Weapon," 22 Feb. 2019 Some familiar faces return, including those of Charlie Day and Burn Gorman as eccentric scientists — one of whose eccentricities have grown pronouncedly more extreme. Glenn Kenny, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Pacific Rim Uprising,’ Scary Monsters and Super Robots," 21 Mar. 2018 At Milan Fashion Week that February, the Italian brand introduced a new creative director, Alessandro Michele, whose style was all about eccentricity, romanticism, and ruffles. Eliza Brooke, Vox, "How the Great Recession influenced a decade of design," 27 Dec. 2018 Travel fosters eccentricity, in the truest sense of the word. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "Why I Still Travel," 19 July 2016

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

12 Jun 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



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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