View synonyms for eccentricity


[ ek-suhn-tris-i-tee, ek-sen- ]


, plural ec·cen·tric·i·ties.
  1. an oddity or peculiarity, as of conduct:

    an interesting man, known for his eccentricities.

  2. the quality of being eccentric.

    Synonyms: freakishness, oddness, queerness, aberration, strangeness

  3. the amount by which something is eccentric.
  4. Machinery. the distance between the centers of two cylindrical objects one of which surrounds the other, as between an eccentric and the shaft on which it is mounted.
  5. Mathematics. a constant expressed as the ratio of the distance from a point on a conic to a focus and the distance from the point to the directrix.


/ ˌɛksɛnˈtrɪsɪtɪ /


  1. unconventional or irregular behaviour
  2. deviation from a circular path or orbit
  3. a measure of the noncircularity of an elliptical orbit, the distance between the foci divided by the length of the major axis
  4. geometry a number that expresses the shape of a conic section: the ratio of the distance of a point on the curve from a fixed point (the focus) to the distance of the point from a fixed line (the directrix)
  5. the degree of displacement of the geometric centre of a rotating part from the true centre, esp of the axis of rotation of a wheel or shaft


/ ĕk′sĕn-trĭsĭ-tē /

  1. A measure of the deviation of an elliptical path, especially an orbit, from a perfect circle. It is equal to the ratio of the distance between the foci of the ellipse to the length of the major axis of the ellipse (the distance between the two points farthest apart on the ellipse). Eccentricity ranges from zero (for a perfect circle) to values approaching 1 (highly elongated ellipses).
  2. The ratio of the distance of any point on a conic section from a focus to its distance from the corresponding directrix. This ratio is constant for any particular conic section.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of eccentricity1

First recorded in 1545–55; from Medieval Latin eccentricitās, equivalent to eccentric- ( eccentric ) + -itās -ity

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Synonym Study

Eccentricity, peculiarity, quirk, idiosyncrasy all refer to some noticeable deviation in behavior, style, or manner from what is normal or expected. Eccentricity usually suggests a mildly amusing but harmless characteristic or style: a whimsical eccentricity in choice of clothing. Peculiarity is the most general of these words, referring to almost any perceptible oddity or departure from any norm: the peculiarity of his eyelashes, of the weather. Quirk often refers to a minor, unimportant kind of oddity: Her one quirk was a habit of speaking to strangers in elevators. Sometimes quirk has overtones of strangeness: sexual quirks. Idiosyncrasy refers to a variation in behavior or manner exclusive to or characteristic of a single individual: idiosyncrasies of style that irritated editors but often delighted readers.

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Example Sentences

Bach-Møller and Jørgensen started by gathering the full sample of exoplanets for which researchers have already measured or estimated orbital eccentricities.

The key piece of their analysis, published in a paper in October in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, is “orbital eccentricity.”

Some people shrug these off as the eccentricities often associated with brilliance.

From Fortune

First, we quantified the egg shapes of more than 1,400 species by determining an egg’s eccentricity — how far it deviates from a sphere — and asymmetry.

Bond says that the discovery raises more questions that may ultimately help us understand the evolution of pufferfishes, a group already awash in eccentricities.

Undoubtedly, the enormous inherited fortunes of the aristocracy facilitated a certain eccentricity.

But Jenkins concedes that eccentricity is not what it once was.

Both his genius and his eccentricity are on full display in the Declaration of Independence.

“I adore them, I find them so hilarious, full of eccentricity, and full of faults,” she tells The Daily Beast in French.

The most interesting part of eccentricity may be just how wasteful it usually is.

Fashion—Do not be too submissive to the dictates of fashion; at the same time avoid oddity or eccentricity in your dress.

He was a man of great learning and eccentricity, and devoted his long life to laborious study.

Wear what is becoming to yourself, and only bow to fashion enough to avoid eccentricity.

I must add, by way of an eccentricity, his admiration for Dargomijskys Roussalka.

He has all the eccentricity of Rowland Hill, manifested only in a very different manner.





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