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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The actress splashed onto the scene in the early 80’s, cutting her piercing white teeth on General Hospital and sporting a set of blunt, choppy bangs that quickly morphed into a messy bouffant to match her eclectic style. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "At 56, Demi Moore Has Never Looked Better," 11 Nov. 2018 The three-story house has an eclectic style with a contemporary feel. Terri Akman, Philly.com, "1870s West Philly home blends Victorian history with today's style," 26 June 2018 Ryan is a gifted songwriter and guitarist with an eclectic country style. Jeremy Hallock, star-telegram, "Local rising star Mike Ryan brings his eclectic country sound to Billy Bob's," 20 June 2018 The stock reflects the eclectic style of downtown customers with a mix of classics and on-trend finds. Liz Ohanesian, Los Angeles Magazine, "L.A.’s Most Fashionable Couple Lives Inside a DTLA Vintage Shop," 6 June 2018 The actress danced her way through the shoot in bold dresses, funky mix-and-matched prints, girly skirts, bright jeans and statement-making accessories, which was perfect for Julianne's eclectic style. Ellen Collis, Seventeen, "Julianne Hough Dishes on Her Personal Style!," 12 Oct. 2011 Even by the standards of eclectic Paris bookstores, the personal library in the back of Studio 7L is immense, about 80,000 volumes. Erik Maza, Town & Country, "Karl Lagerfeld Turns Interior Designer With a New Miami Masterpiece," 3 Jan. 2019 Joel says the team also wanted the space to feel eclectic and collected, so a lot of the accent seating is antique, and artwork is from local artisans and various antique stores. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "This Sprawling House In Texas Now Houses A Gorgeous Restaurant," 20 Nov. 2018 Levi will recur as an eclectic Manhattan doctor who suddenly starts spending a lot of time with the Maisels and Weissmans, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," 28 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about eclectic

Listen to Our Podcast about eclectic

Statistics for eclectic

Last Updated

5 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for eclectic

The first known use of eclectic was in 1683

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on eclectic

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

WORD OF THE DAY

esteemed in general opinion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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!