eclectic

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

All the while, the surroundings were equally eclectic, transporting the audience from a child’s bedroom to a topsy turvy world where an industrial, Chicago-style grid of pipes supported dancing harlequins. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "At Austria’s Famous Salzburg Festival, the Hills Do Come Alive With the Sound of Music," 2 Aug. 2018 The storytelling is eclectic by design: a collage of poetry and prose, OkCupid chats and diary entries, tweets and interview transcripts; there’s even a series of drawings. Steph Cha, USA TODAY, "Amber Tamblyn takes on rape culture (with a daring twist) in debut novel, 'Any Man'," 26 June 2018 The chorus to a Texas football practice is typically eclectic and enlivening. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Tom Herman instills some silence at Longhorns practice," 5 Apr. 2018 Chainz also came onstage to rap his part of in an eclectic, multicolored sweatsuit number. Ashley Lyle, Billboard, "BET Concert in Los Angeles Brings Out Nipsey Hussle, Meek Mill & More," 24 June 2018 Her tastes were eclectic, with recipes for snails and Rice Krispies treats in the same cookbook. Matt Schudel, BostonGlobe.com, "Barbara Kafka, 84, cookbook author who turned up the heat," 4 June 2018 Her tastes were eclectic, with recipes for snails and Rice Krispies treats in the same cookbook. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Barbara Kafka, cookbook author who turned up the heat, dies at 84," 2 June 2018 Otherwise the Raising Cane décor is best described as eclectic, with lots of pop culture pictures and movie posters, everything from Wonder Woman to Elvis. Larry Olmsted, USA TODAY, "This fast-food chain serves one specialty," 30 May 2018 Over time, Michael’s cooking at Quince, which got its third Michelin star in 2016, has become more eclectic, influenced not just by Italy but also by France, California and Japan. Jay Cheshes, WSJ, "A New Casual Wine Bar from the Founders of San Francisco’s Three-Michelin-Starred Quince," 1 May 2018

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

Greek eklektikos, from eklegein to select, from ex- out + legein to gather — more at legend

Noun

see eclectic entry 1

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Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

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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- \

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 \ adverb

eclectic

noun

Medical Definition of eclectic (Entry 2 of 2)

: one who uses an eclectic method or approach

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