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[ik-sen-trik, ek-] /ɪkˈsɛn trɪk, ɛk-/
deviating from the recognized or customary character, practice, etc.; irregular; erratic; peculiar; odd:
eccentric conduct; an eccentric person.
Geometry. not having the same center; not concentric: used especially of two circles or spheres at least one of which contains the centers of both.
(of an axis, axle, etc.) not situated in the center.
Machinery. having the axis or support away from the center:
an eccentric wheel.
Astronomy. deviating from a circular form, as an elliptic orbit.
a person who has an unusual, peculiar, or odd personality, set of beliefs, or behavior pattern.
something that is unusual, peculiar, or odd.
Machinery. a device for converting circular motion into rectilinear motion, consisting of a disk fixed somewhat off-center to a revolving shaft, and working freely in a surrounding collar (eccentric strap) to which a rod (eccentric rod) is attached.
Also, especially British, excentric.
Origin of eccentric
1350-1400; < Medieval Latin eccentricus < Greek ékkentr(os) out of center (see ec-, center) + Latin -icus -ic
Related forms
eccentrical, adjective
eccentrically, adverb
noneccentric, adjective
noneccentrically, adverb
uneccentric, adjective
uneccentrically, adverb
1. strange, weird, bizarre.
1. normal, regular, ordinary, customary, conventional. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for eccentric
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • eccentric, they call me; as if Nature and beauty were abnormal!

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • I was wearing the eccentric costume of an Englishwoman in the year 1820.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • eccentric she was, as I afterward found—as I thought when I first saw her.

    The First Violin Jessie Fothergill
  • "No, but I was wondering about the condition of the roads," replied the eccentric man.

  • At the proper intervals the valve is pulled down by the eccentric C.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats Raymond Francis Yates
British Dictionary definitions for eccentric


deviating or departing from convention, esp in a bizarre manner; irregular or odd
situated away from the centre or the axis
not having a common centre: eccentric circles Compare concentric
not precisely circular
a person who deviates from normal forms of behaviour, esp in a bizarre manner
a device for converting rotary motion to reciprocating motion
Derived Forms
eccentrically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin eccentricus, from Greek ekkentros out of centre, from ek-ex-1 + kentron centre
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for eccentric

early 15c., "eccentric circle or orbit," originally a term in Ptolemaic astronomy, "circle or orbit not having the Earth precisely at its center," from Middle French eccentrique and directly from Medieval Latin eccentricus (noun and adjective), from Greek ekkentros "out of the center" (as opposed to concentric), from ek "out" (see ex-) + kentron "center" (see center (n.)). Meaning "odd or whimsical person" attested by 1824.

June 4 [1800].--Died in the streets in Newcastle, William Barron, an eccentric, well known for many years by the name of Billy Pea-pudding. [John Sykes, "Local Records, or Historical Register of Remarkable Events which have Occurred Exclusively in the Counties of Durham and Northumberland, Town and County of Newcastle Upon Tyne, and Berwick Upon Tweed," Newcastle, 1824]


1550s, from Middle French eccentrique and directly from Medieval Latin eccentricus (noun and adjective; see eccentric (n.)). Figurative sense of "odd, whimsical" first recorded 1620s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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eccentric in Medicine

eccentric ec·cen·tric (ĭk-sěn'trĭk, ěk-)

  1. Departing from a recognized, conventional, or established norm or pattern.

  2. Situated or proceeding away from the center.

A person of odd or unconventional behavior.
ec'cen·tric'i·ty (ěk'sěn-trĭs'ĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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