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

Location: Caldwell, Idaho Price: $560,000 Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s parallelogram plans, this four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home about 30 minutes west of Boise is an eclectic example of 1958 style. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired ‘parallelogram’ house asks $560K," 3 Dec. 2018 The iconic jeweler hosted an eclectic gang, including Shay Mitchell, Rowan Blanchard, Halima Aden, and Atlanta de Cadenet Taylor, to experience a rare sit-down dinner at the store. Julia Russo, Vogue, "Dinner at Tiffany’s," 30 Nov. 2018 If eclectic stylings are your vibe, try the glittery knick knacks available on the site. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Christmas Tree Shops Just Released Its Holiday Decor and We Want Everything," 13 Oct. 2018 Getty ImagesKarwai Tang As well as the inspiring feminism focus for the Duchess’s trip down under, the royal itinerary is offering up an eclectic selection of activities for the couple (to say the least... yikes). Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Has Two Solo Appearances on Her Royal Tour With Prince Harry, and They're Feminism-Focused," 5 Oct. 2018 The locket frame containing the locks of hair is part of an eclectic set of artifacts amassed by the late collector David Gainsborough-Roberts. James Rogers, Fox News, "Lock of Napoleon's hair up for auction," 17 Aug. 2018 For Cline, 46, the movie is the culmination — so far, anyway — of an intriguingly eclectic career in fandom. Tom Russo, BostonGlobe.com, "Author Ernest Cline talks about ‘Ready Player One’ the book, the movie, and other ’80s time machines," 22 Mar. 2018 Cargo is a wide category and can include an eclectic mix of goods — such as cars, bicycles, alcohol, apparel, food, livestock, drugs, electronics, and general merchandise. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Video: Police allegedly left a “bait truck” filled with Nike shoes in a black Chicago neighborhood," 7 Aug. 2018 Intensity: This is an eclectic mix of colors that evokes a sense of strength, power and sophistication, all balanced with black and gold. Kelsey Kloss, ELLE Decor, "The Pantone Colors Everyone is Obsessed with Now," 1 Aug. 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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Statistics for eclectic

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

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- \

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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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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