eccentricity

noun

ec·​cen·​tric·​i·​ty ˌek-(ˌ)sen-ˈtri-sə-tē How to pronounce eccentricity (audio)
plural eccentricities
1
a
: the quality or state of being eccentric
b
: deviation from an established pattern or norm
especially : odd or whimsical behavior
2
a
: 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

Example Sentences

Some people weren't very tolerant of his eccentricity. Talking to her plants is one of her many eccentricities.
Recent Examples on the Web Finally, the eccentricity cycle involves changes in our planet’s elliptical orbit around the Sun. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 30 Sep. 2022 Throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, Justo’s feverish devotion emerged as something more than just eccentricity. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, 15 June 2022 Fight spun off from Wife and spent six sensational years exploding the violent absurdities of post-2016 America with provocative eccentricity. Darren Franich, EW.com, 6 Dec. 2022 For all his foolishness, eccentricity, and unapologetic mooching, Darius can also be lovely and charming like this in a way that Al and Earn are, respectively, too grouchy and too goal-oriented to be. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 10 Nov. 2022 Yet those remixes do trade away the vintage eccentricity of the original stereo versions, which were completed in one day as an afterthought to the more fastidious mono versions, back when stereo was still a novelty. Jon Pareles, New York Times, 31 Oct. 2022 The British—the English in particular—have an expert sense of the boundary between eccentricity (which is good) and weirdness (which isn’t). Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, 11 Sep. 2022 The secretiveness of Beijing’s ruling party might once have been dismissed as a mere eccentricity, fodder for an industry of intelligence analysts and academic Pekinologists to sort through for clues about top-level machinations. Richard Mcgregor, The Atlantic, 21 Aug. 2022 Some around the conference table wondered whether the Sacramento prosecutor, who had a reputation for professorial eccentricity, was rudely doing other work or answering emails in the midst of their meeting. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, 8 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of eccentricity was in 1545

Dictionary Entries Near eccentricity

Cite this Entry

“Eccentricity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eccentricity. Accessed 29 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

eccentricity

noun
ec·​cen·​tric·​i·​ty ˌek-ˌsen-ˈtris-ət-ē How to pronounce eccentricity (audio)
plural eccentricities
1
a
: the quality or state of being eccentric
b
: something that does not follow an established pattern, norm, or rule
especially : unusual behavior
2
: the amount by which a nearly circular path is not circular
an orbit's eccentricity

More from Merriam-Webster on eccentricity

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY