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

Dinner for patients and guests is ordered from an eclectic menu presented on a bedside iPad. Beth Spotswood, SFChronicle.com, "Go to the hospital,and leave ’em laughing," 3 July 2019 An eclectic menu that spotlights California’s agricultural bounty is on the playbill too. New York Times, "36 Hours in Napa Valley," 21 June 2018 Restaurants in Williams South Rims Wine and Beer Garage pairs a surprisingly eclectic menu that includes an eggplant portobello sandwich and spicy crab cakes with a full slate of wines and craft beers on tap. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "Arizona road trip: Williams has Route 66, Bearizona and cool summer fun," 15 June 2018 The booze is paired with with an eclectic menu that blends Northwest fresh-style cuisine with Basque, Asian and other culinary flavors. Dana Oland, idahostatesman, "10 ways to get a real taste of Boise: New spots and beloved staples | Idaho Statesman," 21 May 2018 Fans loved her fiery oxtail curry, eclectic drinks menu and what would become her signature dish: the crunchy fried kale and candied bacon dressed in fish sauce. Michael Russell, OregonLive.com, "Two years after closing, one of Portland's most exciting restaurants will return," 11 May 2018 Local in-the-know hipsters flock here for affordable, but innovative, cocktails and an eclectic menu that takes cues from Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Andrea Bennett, Condé Nast Traveler, "17 Best Bars in Las Vegas," 4 Mar. 2018 Another standout on the eclectic menu is the bulgogi rib-eye and eggs ($18), where the beef is marinated for 36 hours and served in a bowl of rice, cilantro, toasted sesame seeds and dry seaweed. Samantha Nelson, RedEye Chicago, "Warm up with these 16 winter brunches in Chicago," 18 Jan. 2018 But his approach is also idiosyncratic and eclectic, with fascinating details and stories offered up along the way. Brendan Simms, WSJ, "Jared Diamond’s ‘Upheaval’ Reviewed: Nations at the Turning Point," 14 June 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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Statistics for eclectic

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for eclectic

The first known use of eclectic was in 1683

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More Definitions for eclectic

eclectic

adjective

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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More from Merriam-Webster on eclectic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with eclectic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for eclectic

Spanish Central: Translation of eclectic

Nglish: Translation of eclectic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of eclectic for Arabic Speakers

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