eclectic

1 of 2

adjective

eclec·​tic i-ˈklek-tik How to pronounce eclectic (audio)
e-
1
: composed of elements drawn from various sources
also : heterogeneous
2
: selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles
eclectically adverb

eclectic

2 of 2

noun

: 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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Eclectic Has a Philosophical History

Eclectic comes from the Greek adjective eklektikos, meaning “picking out, selecting what appears to be best,” which in turn comes from the verb eklegein, meaning “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, as well as the use of elements drawn from different sources. For instance, a museum with an eclectic collection may showcase pieces from a variety of styles and periods and in different media. Similarly, a person may be said to have eclectic tastes if they enjoy a broad range, rather than a single genre, of film, music, literature, etc.

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The story follows an eclectic group of drag queens, club kids, and frenemies who must put aside their personal dramas and use their unique skills to combat the brain-thirsty undead when a zombie apocalypse breaks out during their drag show in Brooklyn. Matt Grobar, Deadline, 18 July 2024 The series, curated and produced in partnership with the Locarno Film Festival and sponsored by MUBI, will feature an eclectic mix of 22 midcentury Mexican films produced from the 1940s through the 1960s. Christian Zilko, IndieWire, 17 July 2024
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, 21 Dec. 2017 By allying himself with the eclectics, Lloyd was ostracized by regular pharmacists. Jeff Suess, Cincinnati.com, 27 Oct. 2017 See all Example Sentences for eclectic 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'eclectic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Adjective

1683, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

1817, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of eclectic was in 1683

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Dictionary Entries Near eclectic

Cite this Entry

“Eclectic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eclectic. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

eclectic

adjective
eclec·​tic
e-ˈklek-tik,
i-
1
: selecting what appears to be best from various styles, doctrines, or methods
eclectic taste in music
2
: composed of elements drawn from various sources
an eclectic guest list

Medical Definition

eclectic

1 of 2 adjective
eclec·​tic e-ˈklek-tik, i- How to pronounce eclectic (audio)
1
: selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines or methods
2
: of, relating to, or practicing eclecticism
eclectically adverb

eclectic

2 of 2 noun
: one who uses an eclectic method or approach

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