eclectic

adjective
eclec·​tic | \ i-ˈklek-tik How to pronounce eclectic (audio) , e- \

Definition of eclectic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : composed of elements drawn from various sources also : heterogeneous
2 : selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles

eclectic

noun

Definition of eclectic (Entry 2 of 2)

: one who uses a method or approach that is composed of elements drawn from various sources : one who uses an eclectic method or approach

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Other Words from eclectic

Adjective

eclectically \ i-​ˈklek-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce eclectically (audio) , e-​ \ adverb

Eclectic Has a Philosophical History

Adjective

Eclectic comes from a Greek verb meaning "to select" and was originally applied to ancient philosophers who were not committed to any single system of philosophy; instead, these philosophers selected whichever doctrines pleased them from every school of thought. Later, the word's use broadened to cover other selective natures. "Hard by, the central slab is thick with books / Diverse, but which the true eclectic mind / Knows how to group, and gather out of each / Their frequent wisdoms...." In this 19th century example from a poem by Arthur Joseph Munby, for example, the word is applied to literature lovers who cull selective works from libraries.

Examples of eclectic in a Sentence

Adjective All around us, fishers galumphed past.  … They carried an eclectic array of rods, nets, buckets and coolers. — Stephen C. Sautner, New York Times, 2 Apr. 2000 Her witty, mordant and splendidly vinegary observations were informed by broad and eclectic reading. — George F. Will, Newsweek, 24 May 1999 The polo crowd is eclectic and dangerously hagridden with narcissism and treachery, and that is the way they like it. — Hunter S. Thompson, Rolling Stone, 15 Dec. 1994 … big wheels of country bread and eclectic selections of pâtés, hams, cheeses, honey and all sorts of homemade cookies and sweets. — Per-Henrik Mansson, Wine Spectator, 28 Feb. 1993 The collection includes an eclectic mix of historical artifacts. the museum's eclectic collection has everything from a giraffe skeleton to medieval musical instruments
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Indie darlings Vampire Weekend and The 1975, plus some 50-odd more artists from every genre, round out the eclectic lineup. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "Bonnaroo announces diverse lineup featuring headliners Lizzo, Tame Impala and Tool," 7 Jan. 2020 There’s also an all-star and eclectic music lineup that includes Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals, Mark Ronson B2B Q-Tip, Young the Giant, Kurt Vile & the Violators, and many more. Outside Online, "4xFAR Is SoCal’s Coolest New Winter Festival," 1 Dec. 2019 With an eclectic style that’s hard to pin down, the duo is carrying the torch of Southern rap, and critics have compared the duo to Outkast--a juxtaposition that used to bother WowGr8 at first. Shauna Stuart | Sstuart@al.com, al, "Dreamville’s EarthGang adds Birmingham to the ‘Welcome to Mirrorland’ tour," 7 Nov. 2019 The repertoire will feature an eclectic lineup — everything from Haydn and George Enescu to Duke Ellington and Fernando Bustamante. Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "14 things to do this weekend in San Diego: Festival of Lights, Halloween Haunted Tales, San Diego Opera," 18 Oct. 2019 Also making its debut is the Miami Beach Pop Festival, where performances by Chance the Rapper, Juanes and the Raconteurs are just the tip of an eclectic lineup. Ben Crandell, sun-sentinel.com, "South Florida’s best fall concerts of 2019: 30 shows in 300 words," 24 Sep. 2019 Last year the Hartbeat Music Festival on Hartford’s Mortensen Riverfront Plaza exploded onto the local music scene in September with an entire day of music and one of the most eclectic lineups in the state. Chip Mccabe, courant.com, "Hartbeat Music Festival: Take a listen to the 24 bands that will play for 12 hours on Hartford’s Riverfront Plaza," 27 Aug. 2019 The artists were two of the biggest names on the eclectic lineup announced in March, which organizer Michael Lang, who co-founded the 1969 festival, hoped would have multigenerational appeal. Sonia Rao, BostonGlobe.com, "Woodstock fest loses Jay-Z and Fogerty," 26 July 2019 Of the Hinsdale acquisitions, the house that was most recently built is a four-bedroom, 2,346-square-foot, neo-eclectic-style house at 417 Mills Street, which was built in 1996. Bob Goldsborough, chicagotribune.com, "Illinois Tollway buys Elmhurst home for $710,000 to demolish it, make way for Tri-State Tollway project," 22 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Central Lodi has blocks filled with bike shops and clothing stores, wine bars and beer joints, white-linen dining and ethnic eclectics. Ken Van Vechten, latimes.com, "Stuck in Lodi again? Relax with a glass of Zinfandel," 21 Dec. 2017 By allying himself with the eclectics, Lloyd was ostracized by regular pharmacists. Jeff Suess, Cincinnati.com, "Our history: Lloyd Library is legacy of pharmacist brothers," 27 Oct. 2017 Borrow Vintage + Eclectic, which rents and retails furniture, home accessories by local designers, is hosting a designer's showcase and open house from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Nikki Delamotte, cleveland.com, "Hip 'Love Bash' bridal, wedding show set for Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park (photos)," 21 July 2017

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

Adjective

1683, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

1817, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for eclectic

Adjective

borrowed from Greek eklektikós "picking out, selecting what appears to be best," from eklektós "picked out, select" (verbal adjective of eklégein "to pick out, select," from ek- ec- + légein "to collect, gather, count, say") + -ikos -ic entry 1 — more at legend

Noun

borrowed from Greek eklektikós "any of a group of philosophers who selected beliefs from a variety of schools of thought," noun derivative of eklektikós eclectic entry 1

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Time Traveler for eclectic

Time Traveler

The first known use of eclectic was in 1683

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Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Eclectic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eclectic. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for eclectic

eclectic

adjective
How to pronounce eclectic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of eclectic

: including things taken from many different sources

eclectic

adjective
eclec·​tic | \ e-ˈklek-tik, i- \

Kids Definition of eclectic

: including things taken from many different sources The radio station plays an eclectic mix of music.

eclectic

adjective
eclec·​tic | \ e-ˈklek-tik, i- How to pronounce eclectic (audio) \

Medical Definition of eclectic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines or methods
2 : of, relating to, or practicing eclecticism

Other Words from eclectic

eclectically \ -​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce eclectically (audio) \ adverb

eclectic

noun

Medical Definition of eclectic (Entry 2 of 2)

: one who uses an eclectic method or approach

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