[ ih-klek-tik ]
See synonyms for eclectic on
  1. selecting or choosing from various sources.

  2. made up of what is selected from different sources.

  1. not following any one system, as of philosophy, medicine, etc., but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of all systems.

  2. 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.

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

Origin of eclectic

First recorded in 1675–85; from Greek eklektikós “selective,” from eklekt(ós) “chosen, selected” (past participle of eklég(ein) “to pick out, choose,” from ek- ec- + légein “to pick up, gather, count, speak”; cf. dialect ) + -ikos -ic

Other words from eclectic

  • ec·lec·ti·cal·ly, adverb
  • non·ec·lec·tic, adjective, noun
  • non·ec·lec·ti·cal·ly, adverb
  • un·ec·lec·tic, adjective
  • un·ec·lec·ti·cal·ly, adverb

Words Nearby eclectic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use eclectic in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for eclectic


/ (ɪˈklɛktɪk, ɛˈklɛk-) /

  1. (in art, philosophy, etc) selecting what seems best from various styles, doctrines, ideas, methods, etc

  2. composed of elements drawn from a variety of sources, styles, etc

  1. a person who favours an eclectic approach, esp in art or philosophy

Origin of eclectic

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

Derived forms of eclectic

  • eclectically, adverb

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