from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Deviating from the ordinary rule; eccentric, abnormal.
  • adj. Being irregularly declined or inflected.
  • n. A person who is unconventional; a maverick
  • n. An irregularly declined or inflected word
  • n. A word whose etymological roots come from distinct, different languages or language groups.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Deviating from ordinary forms or rules; irregular; anomalous; abnormal.
  • n. A word which is irregular or anomalous either in declension or conjugation, or which deviates from ordinary forms of inflection in words of a like kind; especially, a noun which is irregular in declension.
  • n. Any thing or person deviating from the common rule, or from common forms.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In grammar, irregular in inflection. Hence Deviating from ordinary forms or rules; irregular; anomalous.
  • n. In grammar, a word which is irregular or anomalous in declension or conjugation, or which deviates from the ordinary forms of inflection in words of a like kind. It is applied particularly to nouns having forms from different stems.
  • n. A person or thing that deviates from the regular or proper form.


From late Latin heteroclitus, from Ancient Greek ἑτερόκλιτος (heteróklitos), from ἕτερος (héteros, "other, another, different") + κλίνω (klínō, "lean, incline"), the latter from Proto-Indo-European *ḱley-. (Wiktionary)


  • Nicolas Sarkozy, French to his fingertips despite his heteroclite background two parts Hungarian, one part Greek/Jewish and one part French/French, seems to have absorbed the first, but not the second, of the above two maxims.

    Dr. Charles G. Cogan: Toujours de l'Audace!

  • Over the years Amis has learned how to notate a superbly comic speaking voice; getting it down on paper is comparable to a good composer's skill in scoring heteroclite sounds never before made by concert instruments.

    Martin Amis's 'The Pregnant Widow' Is A 'Strange, Sparkling Novel' (New York Review)

  • That makes the in-color onlooker the heteroclite, and the urbane aesthetic cellist the metroclite.


  • These instances might with propriety be reckoned among singular or heteroclite instances, for in the whole extent of nature they are of rare and extraordinary occurrence.

    Archive 2005-11-01

  • Nor could I have dreamed the heteroclite crewmen I had met aboard Tzadkiel's ship, nor the jibers; and yet both had come from Briah, even as I; and Tzadkiel had not scrupled to take them into his service.

    The Urth of the New Sun

  • But even where he walked, amid a society intellectually fostering sentiment, in a land bowing to see the simplicity of the mystery paraded, Alvan's behaviour was passing heteroclite.

    The Tragic Comedians — Complete

  • On the other hand, the heteroclite array of the dancers of the night before, torn from their slumbers, appeared in fantastic and ridiculous outline like the shades of a magic lantern; shawls, rugs, and even bed-quilts wrapped around them.

    Tartarin On The Alps

  • YOUR have here a kind of medley, a heterogeneous, ill-spelt, heteroclite, (worse) excentric sort of a-- a--; in short, it is a true Negroe calibash -- of ill-sorted, undigested chaotic matter.

    Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, An African. In Two Volumes. To Which Are Prefixed, Memoirs of His Life, Vol. 2

  • "Indeed, besides what we know of the influences and the results of heteroclite fecundations, we know positively to-day that a forced and long-sustained change, both in the habits and mode of life of animals, and in the situation, soil, and climate of plants, brings about, after a sufficient time has elapsed, a very remarkable change in the individuals which are exposed to them.

    Lamarck, the Founder of Evolution His Life and Work

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