Definition of eccentric in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪkˈsɛntrɪk/
Pronunciation: /ɛkˈsɛntrɪk/


1(Of a person or their behaviour) unconventional and slightly strange: he noted her eccentric appearance
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • The artist was drawn to Ludwig's life after seeing a biography on the eccentric king's behaviour.
  • Did I mention that my uncle is slightly eccentric?
informal way out, far out, offbeat, dotty, nutty, screwy, freaky, oddball, wacky, cranky, off the wall, madcap, zany
British informal rum
North American informal kooky, wacko, bizarro, in left field
2 technical Not placed centrally or not having its axis or other part placed centrally: a servo driving an eccentric cam
More example sentences
  • The foam cells were oval to polygonal with a moderate amount of cytoplasm and central to eccentric small nuclei.
  • The less mature neurons had abundant pink cytoplasm with central to slightly eccentric nuclei and conspicuous nucleoli.
  • Subsequently, the muscle is also more vulnerable to rupture during an eccentric contraction.
2.1(Of a circle) not centred on the same point as another.
Example sentences
  • 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(Of an orbit) not circular.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Some orbits are so eccentric that they never loop back around again.


1A person of unconventional and slightly strange views or behaviour: he’s seen as a local eccentric
More example sentences
  • This creates a bond between the two of them, both of whom are viewed as eccentrics by the community.
  • 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.
  • 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.
oddity, odd fellow, unorthodox person, character, individualist, individual, free spirit, misfit
informal oddball, queer fish, weirdo, weirdie, freak, nut, nutter, nutcase, case, head case, crank, crackpot, loony, loon
British informal one-off, odd bod
North American informal wacko, wack, screwball, kook
US informal wackadoo, wackadoodle
Australian/New Zealand informal dingbat
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.
Example sentences
  • 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.



Pronunciation: /ɪkˈsɛntrɪk(ə)li/
Pronunciation: /ɛkˈsɛntrɪk(ə)li/
Example sentences
  • While David is away chairing (very eccentrically of course) the Cannes festival committee we finally get to see close to his best and most mysterious and touchingly tragic movie.
  • Among other collectors' gems, this contained the most eccentrically pronounced versions of Annie's Song and Yesterday on record, and the title song is a memorably cheesy duet with Denver.
  • At the height of his powers, he was so famous that a letter, addressed with only a silhouette of the author, would reach him at his eccentrically designed home at Hartford, Connecticut.


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

  • Eccentric started life in the astronomical sense, meaning ‘a circle or orbit not having the earth precisely in its centre’, before taking on its main modern meaning of ‘unconventional and slightly strange’ as it were ‘off centre’ in the mid 17th century. It comes from Greek ekkentros, from ek ‘out of’ and kentron ‘centre’.

Words that rhyme with eccentric

androcentric, centric, concentric, egocentric, ethnocentric, Eurocentric, geocentric, phallocentric, theocentric

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ec¦cen|tric

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