Printable Version
Pronunciation: e-klek-tik, i-klek-tik Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: From various sources, heterogeneous, composed of a mixture.

Notes: This word may be extended by the optional semantically empty suffix -al, eclectical, but this suffix must be used to spell the adverb even though it isn't pronounced, eclectically. Even though it isn't a belief, the noun is eclecticism and the verb is eclecticize.

In Play: Today's word refers to a mixture of different styles: "Maude Lynn Dresser wears an eclectic collection of accessories on an even more eclectic wardrobe of clothing." Even different styles of people: "April Showers has eclectic tastes in men, from milksops to muscle builders to intellectuals."

Word History: English picked this one up from French eclectique in the 1650s. French inherited it from Latin, who borrowed it from ancient Greek eklektikos "selective, picking out" built on the past participle, eklektos "selected, picked out", of eklegein "to pick out, select". Greek created its word from ek "out" + legein "gather, choose" from the PIE word leg-/log- "to collect, gather." Greek ek came from PIE eghs "out (from)" which became ex in Latin and iz in Russian. The PIE words leg-/log- somehow produced words referring to speech, lexical and legible, and law, legislate and legal. It turns up in Greek as logos "word, idea", which went into the making of -(o)logy, now used in a local form by most of the languages of the world in the sense of "science of". (Now for a word of thanks to Robert Jordon with eclectic tastes in words for such an historically clear Good Word as today's. )

Dr. Goodword,

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