Definition of eccentric in US English:



  • 1(of a person or their behavior) unconventional and slightly strange.

    ‘my favorite aunt is very eccentric’
    • ‘Born into a bookish, slightly eccentric family, she grew up in the shadow of her mother's nervous temperament and the role of caretaker she assumed as a result.’
    • ‘Ultimately, this is just one of the pitfalls of working with eccentric artistic geniuses.’
    • ‘I work with a bunch of peculiar, eccentric guys who have a lot of really strange ideas.’
    • ‘He may be somewhat eccentric, but he wants to win.’
    • ‘In life he was regarded as an awkward customer, a cranky, eccentric figure with a talent for rubbing people up the wrong way.’
    • ‘You see, Reynolds the first was somewhat eccentric.’
    • ‘He became a recluse, and his rare film appearances were overshadowed by tales of his eccentric behaviour on set.’
    • ‘Jane found the twenty-one-year-old Cambridge postgraduate a fascinating and slightly eccentric character and was immediately attracted to him.’
    • ‘The strength of characters was very important - all were slightly eccentric.’
    • ‘The place is certainly atmospheric, the owner charmingly eccentric.’
    • ‘Did I mention that my uncle is slightly eccentric?’
    • ‘I think I'm regarded as harmless and mildly eccentric; I'm happy with both qualities.’
    • ‘I am originally from Canada, where this attitude was considered rather eccentric, to say the least.’
    • ‘His gregarious and eccentric personality is the perfect mix for a good television programme.’
    • ‘Brando was also known for his eccentric behaviour and sometimes outlandish salary demands.’
    • ‘The artist was drawn to Ludwig's life after seeing a biography on the eccentric king's behaviour.’
    • ‘He gives a smile as he recalls that others have called him eccentric.’
    • ‘I've always meant to return there again, as I remember it being beautiful, serene and calming - that is, until the day my friend's slightly eccentric grandfather joined us.’
    • ‘Her eccentric characters are imbued with humanity, and the ending is stunning.’
    • ‘There is a very unique contest being backed by an anonymous group of eccentric billionaires.’
    unconventional, uncommon, abnormal, irregular, aberrant, anomalous, odd, queer, strange, peculiar, weird, bizarre, off-centre, outlandish, freakish, extraordinary
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  • 2technical (of a thing) not placed centrally or not having its axis or other part placed centrally.

    • ‘The less mature neurons had abundant pink cytoplasm with central to slightly eccentric nuclei and conspicuous nucleoli.’
    • ‘The foam cells were oval to polygonal with a moderate amount of cytoplasm and central to eccentric small nuclei.’
    • ‘Concentric contractions require the greatest energy expenditure, followed by isometric and eccentric contractions.’
    • ‘Subsequently, the muscle is also more vulnerable to rupture during an eccentric contraction.’
    • ‘Eccentric contractions generally develop greater muscle tension than both isometric and concentric contractions.’
    1. 2.1 (of a circle) not centered on the same point as another.
      • ‘Almost the first thing you see, is Marcel Duchamp's rotorelief of a disc with slightly eccentric circles of hatched red, black and white.’
    2. 2.2 (of an orbit) not circular.
      • ‘Past discoveries of planets in other solar systems had wildly eccentric orbits or orbited very close to the star.’
      • ‘Some orbits are so eccentric that they never loop back around again.’
      • ‘From 1979 until 1999 Pluto was not the outermost planet, its eccentric orbit making Neptune the furthest from the Sun.’
      • ‘During the encounter, one is thrown into the eccentric orbit and remains in the Solar System while the other is ejected into interstellar space where it wanders forever.’
      • ‘Together, the two extremes define the boundaries of a highly eccentric orbit.’


  • 1A person of unconventional and slightly strange views or behavior.

    ‘he enjoys a colorful reputation as an engaging eccentric’
    • ‘Several spoke of him as a harmless and even lovable eccentric.’
    • ‘This creates a bond between the two of them, both of whom are viewed as eccentrics by the community.’
    • ‘So I knew his name there and I knew him as a recluse, something to do with Vegas and ultimately an eccentric of some sort with strange stories coming out of many different places.’
    • ‘Which got me thinking about local characters and eccentrics - like the gentleman who could be seen for years until the mid-1980s walking around Greenwich immaculately turned out, with his Siamese cat on a lead.’
    • ‘Those who treat animals in the same way they treat their friends or family are generally seen as eccentrics, or even social misfits.’
    • ‘The Fool can also represent a person in a reading, if so be prepared to meet a real maverick, an eccentric with lust for life.’
    • ‘The boarders, however, are much more than eccentrics or oddballs.’
    • ‘She could have been a true British eccentric, although I seem to recall her having a foreign accent.’
    • ‘This is a man who clearly knows how to enjoy life and who, with the appearance of a snorkel in his bathroom, has now become known as such a delightful eccentric in his local community that everyone sees him in an adorable new light.’
    • ‘The movie would rather be a quirky pseudo-comedy, in which a stranger appears in a small town packed solid with eccentrics and changes their lives forever.’
    • ‘This isn't surprising when even the groups he does encounter, such as the peace activists, also seem to see themselves as dabblers and eccentrics rather than as committed individuals.’
    • ‘The other parties certainly sheltered a fair crop of eccentrics - this is the Ivy League, after all - but it was very rare to find someone as intense, and as intensely different, as your average member of my own society.’
    • ‘God forbid the eccentrics should start eating the mushrooms because then the strangeness really gets out of hand.’
    • ‘Social life, as usual with Dickens, is just a bewildering assortment of eccentrics, grotesques, amiable idiots and moral monstrosities.’
    • ‘This is the Cornwall of myth, a clichéd caricature version of the county complete with exaggerated eccentrics, loony local lore and mystical happenings.’
    • ‘Mother desperately wanted me to associate with the popular girls - who wouldn't have given me the time of day except in Mother's presence - but tolerated my little motley assortment of eccentrics and outcasts.’
    • ‘The shelf life of a true eccentric is not very long in Hollywood.’
    • ‘Hall is fascinated with the ordinary person's philosophy of life and society, and his songs display sympathy for eccentrics and non-conformists.’
    • ‘The story goes that a local eccentric who built a huge house on the shore complete with caves, underground passages and exotic animals in the grounds, sailed one across the lake during a storm.’
    • ‘In interviews, he comes across as an engaging, amiable eccentric.’
    oddity, odd fellow, unorthodox person, character, individualist, individual, free spirit, misfit
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  • 2A disc or wheel mounted eccentrically on a revolving shaft in order to transform rotation into backward-and-forward motion, e.g. a cam in an internal combustion engine.

    • ‘The ends of the ‘jackshaft’ also carry the two eccentrics needed for the operation of the valve gear, in this case of the Gooch type, often confused with the much better-known Stephenson type.’


Late Middle English (as a noun denoting a circle or orbit not having the earth precisely at its center): via late Latin from Greek ekkentros, from ek ‘out of’ + kentron ‘center’.