eclec·​tic | \ i-ˈklek-tik How to pronounce eclectic (audio) , e- \

Essential Meaning of eclectic

: including things taken from many different sources The collection includes an eclectic mix of historical artifacts. a person with eclectic tastes [=a person who likes many different kinds of things]

Full 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 The spaces' eclectic interior design marries neutral shades with stylish pops of color and vibrant prints. Dobrina Zhekova, Travel + Leisure, 18 Jan. 2022 Freeman went on to create not just an eclectic restaurant, but a home for his antiques obsession. Louisa Chu,, 14 Jan. 2022 That didn't compare with Rap's follow-up album, Feet of Clay, a psychedelic mix of eclectic loops and impenetrable rhymes that made the rapper sound weary. Marcus J. Moore,, 13 Jan. 2022 No-frills stores, with their large, bright white and orange signs have a widely eclectic mix of merchandise — everything from mattresses, lamps and kitchen appliances to toys, snacks, pet food and cleaning supplies. Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN, 12 Jan. 2022 The record is an eclectic yet cohesive collection of slick, macabre dance pop—narrated, interestingly, by actor Jim Carrey. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, 7 Jan. 2022 In honor of her distinct, eclectic voice (literally and artistically) and her impact on pop music, here are Marianne Faithfull’s 10 best songs. Joe Lynch, Billboard, 29 Dec. 2021 As part of a collaboration with TIJN eyewear, Luno brought the eclectic sounds to a global audience. Cassell Ferere, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2021 The audience, at bell’s insistence, was an eclectic mixture of women from every corner of the community, not just traditional academics. Crystal Wilkinson, The Atlantic, 24 Dec. 2021 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

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


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

Learn More About eclectic

Time Traveler for eclectic

Time Traveler

The first known use of eclectic was in 1683

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About eclectic

Dictionary Entries Near eclectic




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for eclectic

Last Updated

22 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Eclectic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

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

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!