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 But video call-ins from Arizona governor hopeful Kari Lake and MyPillow exec Mike Lindell — plus an eclectic mix of songs from Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera — kept energy at the outdoor rally relatively stable. Isaac Yu, Journal Sentinel, 6 Aug. 2022 The eclectic menu of the restaurant and outdoor terrace at Neue Hoheit (New Highness) on the sixth floor includes brasserie-style European dishes along with Austrian classics. Irene S. Levine, Forbes, 3 Aug. 2022 For adventurous souls who want to try an eclectic mix of what’s on offer, TJ Exotixs has mystery bags filled with treats that go for $15. Ted Glanzer, Hartford Courant, 3 Aug. 2022 Like the variety offered at the topline of the fest, the day featured an eclectic mix of music. Joshua Klein, Rolling Stone, 29 July 2022 Over the years, the family expanded the theater’s three screens to six and focused on an eclectic mix of independent films, which helped differentiate the theater from larger multiplexes. John Hilliard,, 19 July 2022 Besides a bike rental stand, gift shop, vineyard and large patio area, there’s Superbloom, a walk-up café window serving an eclectic menu of vegan food items, coffees and drinks made by San Diego purveyors. San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 June 2022 Knowing where Matt Baker has been helps explain the eclectic menu. Washington Post, 18 May 2022 SuperChefs owner Darnell Ferguson's restaurant features an eclectic menu that focuses on serving fresh seafood. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, 28 Feb. 2022 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

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Eclectic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 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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