Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Selecting or employing individual elements from a variety of sources, systems, or styles: an eclectic taste in music; an eclectic approach to managing the economy.
  • adj. Made up of or combining elements from a variety of sources: "a popular bar patronized by an eclectic collection of artists, writers, secretaries and aging soldiers on reserve duty” ( Curtis Wilkie).
  • n. One that follows an eclectic method.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Selecting a mixture of what appears to be best of various doctrines, methods or styles.
  • adj. Unrelated and unspecialized; heterogeneous.
  • n. Someone who selects according to the eclectic method.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Selecting; choosing (what is true or excellent in doctrines, opinions, etc.) from various sources or systems.
  • adj. Consisting, or made up, of what is chosen or selected
  • n. One who follows an eclectic method.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Selecting; choosing; not confined to or following any one model or system, but selecting and appropriating whatever is considered best in all.
  • A practitioner of the American school of eclectic medicine.
  • n. One who, in whatever department of knowledge, not being convinced of the fundamental principles of any existing system, culls from the teachings of different schools such doctrines as seem to him probably true, conformable to good sense, wholesome in practice, or recommended by other secondary considerations; one who holds that opposing schools are right in their distinctive doctrines, wrong only in their opposition to one another.
  • n. Specifically— A follower of the ancient eclectic philosophy.
  • n. In the early church, a Christian who believed the doctrine of Plato to be conformable to the spirit of the gospel.
  • n. In medicine, a practitioner of eclectic medicine, either ancient or modern; an eclectic physician.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. selecting what seems best of various styles or ideas
  • n. someone who selects according to the eclectic method

Etymologies

Greek eklektikos, selective, from eklektos, selected, from eklegein, to select : ek-, out; see ecto- + legein, to gather; see leg- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French éclectique, from Ancient Greek ἐκλεκτικός (eklektikos, "selective"), from ἐκλέγω (eklegō, "I pick, choose"), from ἐκ (ek, "out, from") + λέγω (legō, "I choose, count"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Richard Cahan, co-author with Michael Williams of the 400-page art book "Edgar Miller and the Handmade Home," published in 2009, mentioned the word "eclectic" to describe Miller's style, then took it back.

    News - chicagotribune.com

  • She’s not my type: meaner than me, taller than me, has a kid, uses the word eclectic in her stories too often.

    Occupational Hazards

  • - edited by Richard Vague - and sign up for what he describes as eclectic little excerpts delivered to your inbox every day.

    ArmsControlWonk

  • I rarely match in that official "ladies who lunch" way, but I firmly believe that coloring outside of the lines and being eclectic is the true measure of an interesting person that I want to know better.

    la routine - French Word-A-Day

  • Top of the list and most eclectic is this content-rich website from the La Laguna region of Durango and Coahuila.

    Dynamic websites join two nations at the borderline

  • My own pedagogy, while eclectic, is biased toward formalism for several reasons, including, inescapably, my early training in the New Criticism and my reservations concerning the extra-literary direction of literary studies over the last several decades.

    Ode on a Grecian Urn

  • Today, musical performers from Kanye West to Yo Yo Ma are called "eclectic."

    News

  • The hotel, built within a 1950s low-rise, calls itself "eclectic" -- perhaps referring to the mix of British colonial furniture, painted an airy white in some rooms, with modern art and lamp fixtures.

    Sweet Dreams

  • But there's also a word for the kind of decor you seem to be nurturing - "eclectic" - which translates loosely as a combination of different styles but always the best of each.

    Paramus Post

  • Of course, as I mentioned in an earlier book, my definition of eclectic is many people’s definition of rotten, and as a result, word spread among my fellow wrestler that the hardcore legend has the worst musical taste in the business.

    The Hardcore Diaries

Comments

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  • miscellaneous and unknown yet eye catching

    May 24, 2009

  • Counselor or therapist who orientation is some sort of combination of defined orientations (i.e. psychodynamic, interpersonal, cognitive, etc.) Not to be confused with integrative (which is the same thing, but tidier??).

    June 29, 2008