[ ih-klek-tik ]
/ ɪˈklɛk tɪk /


selecting or choosing from various sources.
made up of what is selected from different sources.
not following any one system, as of philosophy, medicine, etc., but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of all systems.
noting or pertaining to works of architecture, decoration, landscaping, etc., produced by a certain person or during a certain period, that derive from a wide range of historic styles, the style in each instance often being chosen for its fancied appropriateness to local tradition, local geography, the purpose to be served, or the cultural background of the client.


Also ec·lec·ti·cist [ih-klek-tuh-sist] /ɪˈklɛk tə sɪst/. a person who follows an eclectic method, as in philosophy or architecture.

Nearby words

  1. eclabium,
  2. eclair,
  3. eclampsia,
  4. eclamptogenic,
  5. eclat,
  6. eclecticism,
  7. eclipse,
  8. eclipse period,
  9. eclipse plumage,
  10. eclipsing binary

Origin of eclectic

1675–85; < Greek eklektikós selective, equivalent to eklekt(ós) chosen, select (eklég(ein) to pick out + -tos past participle suffix; see ec-) + -ikos -ic

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for eclectic

British Dictionary definitions for eclectic


/ (ɪˈklɛktɪk, ɛˈklɛk-) /


(in art, philosophy, etc) selecting what seems best from various styles, doctrines, ideas, methods, etc
composed of elements drawn from a variety of sources, styles, etc


a person who favours an eclectic approach, esp in art or philosophy
Derived Formseclectically, adverb

Word Origin for eclectic

C17: from Greek eklektikos, from eklegein to select, from legein to gather

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

Word Origin and History for eclectic



1680s, originally in reference to a group of ancient philosophers who selected doctrines from every system; from French eclectique (1650s), from Greek eklektikos "selective," literally "picking out," from eklektos "selected," from eklegein "pick out, select," from ek "out" (see ex-) + legein "gather, choose" (see lecture (n.)). Broader sense of "borrowed from diverse sources" is first recorded 1847. As a noun from 1817.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper