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



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

Other Words from eclectic


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

Eclectic Has a Philosophical History

Eclectic comes from the Greek eklektikos (meaning "selective"), from the verb eklegein, "to select." Eclectic was originally applied to ancient philosophers who were not committed to any single system of philosophy but instead 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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective With its endless array of events, activities and attractions, not to mention some of the most eclectic restaurants in the country, Los Angeles can present a challenge to curious travelers. Roger Sands, Forbes, 16 May 2022 But my mom always nudged me toward more eclectic and unique pieces, encouraging me to choose based on personality and comfort, not the current fad. Sammie Spector, Vogue, 7 May 2022 Glastonbury’s restaurant scene seems to be rebounding from the pandemic and becoming more eclectic every day. Susan Dunne, Hartford Courant, 29 Apr. 2022 Bonham’s calls Chan’s collection one of the most eclectic and extensive to ever come to market. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 15 Apr. 2022 The 43-year-old actor has built his career on both oddball genre projects (Annihilation, Inside Llewyn Davis) and high-profile blockbusters (Star Wars, Dune), amassing one of Hollywood's best and most eclectic resumes. Devan Coggan,, 30 Mar. 2022 Never in what has got to be one of the most eclectic groups of collaborators ever. Lisa Respers France, CNN, 8 Jan. 2022 Paul Thomas Anderson might just have the most eclectic filmography of any director working today. Jennifer M. Wood, Wired, 21 Dec. 2021 Hidden on a once-quiet stretch of Central Park Avenue in Logan Square, this dive bar has become a new post-pandemic destination for the most eclectic and unique DJs and producers from around the city. Britt Julious,, 8 Dec. 2021 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,, 21 Dec. 2017 By allying himself with the eclectics, Lloyd was ostracized by regular pharmacists. Jeff Suess,, 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,, 21 July 2017 See More

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.

First Known Use of eclectic


1683, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1817, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for eclectic


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


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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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Eclectic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for eclectic


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.


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 eclectic (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of eclectic (Entry 2 of 2)

: one who uses an eclectic method or approach

More from Merriam-Webster on eclectic

Nglish: Translation of eclectic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of eclectic for Arabic Speakers


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