1

eclectic

play
adjective eclec·tic \i-ˈklek-tik, e-\

Definition of eclectic

  1. 1 :  selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles

  2. 2 :  composed of elements drawn from various sources; also :  heterogeneous

eclectically

play \i-ˈklek-ti-k(ə-)lē, e-\ adverb

eclectic was our Word of the Day on 03/09/2010. Hear the podcast!

Examples of eclectic in a Sentence

  1. 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

  2. Her witty, mordant and splendidly vinegary observations were informed by broad and eclectic reading. —George F. Will, Newsweek, 24 May 1999

  3. 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

  4. … 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

  5. The collection includes an eclectic mix of historical artifacts.

  6. the museum's eclectic collection has everything from a giraffe skeleton to medieval musical instruments

Eclectic Has a Philosophical History

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.

Origin and Etymology of eclectic

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


2

eclectic

play
noun eclec·tic \i-ˈklek-tik, e-\

Definition of eclectic

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

Origin and Etymology of eclectic

see 1eclectic


ECLECTIC Defined for English Language Learners

eclectic

play
adjective

Definition of eclectic for English Language Learners

  • : including things taken from many different sources


ECLECTIC Defined for Kids

eclectic

adjective eclec·tic \e-ˈklek-tik, i-\

Definition of eclectic for Students

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


Medical Dictionary

1

eclectic

play
adjective eclec·tic \e-ˈklek-tik, i-\

Medical Definition of eclectic

  1. 1:  selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines or methods

  2. 2:  of, relating to, or practicing eclecticism

eclectically

\-ti-k(ə-)lē\play adverb

2

eclectic

noun eclec·tic

Medical Definition of eclectic

  1. :  one who uses an eclectic method or approach



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up eclectic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

clear to the understanding

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • istock-refers-to-this-as-a-tumble-of-strawberries-which-sounded-pretty-nice-to-us
  • Which is a synonym of garner?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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