eclectic

adjective
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

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 How to pronounce eclectically (audio) , 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 His music tastes were similarly eclectic, spanning John Coltrane, Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell and Rush. Jordan Runtagh, PEOPLE.com, "New Book of Jeff Buckley’s Journals and Belongings Offers a Vivid Self-Portrait of the Late Artist," 31 Oct. 2019 As the name suggests, the decor is eclectic and edgy, with an emphasis on dogs. Sarah Kuta, The Know, "Sing your heart out at these Denver karaoke nights," 8 Oct. 2019 Nevertheless, from snake prints to seashells, the designs for the petite iterations are quite eclectic. Nandi Howard, Essence, "October Style Dispatch," 3 Oct. 2019 With a few exceptions, these tend to be diverse, eclectic and mid-priced. Richard A. Marini, ExpressNews.com, "Downsizing to move downtown takes planning and a strong stomach," 30 Sep. 2019 The Hot Flashes are an exciting and eclectic group fronted by three female vocalists who have made a name for themselves on the New England music scene showcasing their tight vocal harmonies and jazzy acoustic stylings. courant.com, "Community News For The Colchester Edition," 8 Nov. 2019 Of course, there’s more to Sydney than sun and sand—a sentiment made all the more apparent in Surry Hills, an eclectic neighborhood that has become a foodie mecca thanks to its multicultural past and bohemian renaissance. Louise Hart, Town & Country, "4 International Itineraries for a Vacation Fit for a Royal," 7 Nov. 2019 Tree trunks made in varying sizes and constructed of plaster, copper and aluminum create an eclectic kind of forest. Claire Bugos, Smithsonian, "Alicja Kwade’s Installation at the Hirshhorn Invites Viewers to Question the World as We Know It," 1 Nov. 2019 Its most charismatic ideologue was the young activist Ali Shariati, whose eclectic brand of left-wing Islamism was opposed by most clerics but embraced by Ayatollah Taleghani. Arash Azizi, New York Times, "Azam Taleghani, Defiant Would-Be President of Iran, Dies at 76," 1 Nov. 2019 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

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

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Time Traveler for eclectic

Time Traveler

The first known use of eclectic was in 1683

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Last Updated

26 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Eclectic.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eclectically?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=e&file=eclect02. Accessed 8 December 2019.

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More Definitions for eclectic

eclectic

adjective
How to pronounce eclectic (audio)

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- 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 eclectically (audio) \ adverb

eclectic

noun

Medical Definition of eclectic (Entry 2 of 2)

: one who uses an eclectic method or approach

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