You're most likely to encounter the adjective eccentric in a description of an unusual or quirky person — like a scatterbrained aunt who leaves her life savings to her cat.

From the Greek ekkentros, "out of the center," this word originally had to do with the orbits of planets that were observed to be slightly out of whack. Eventually it came to describe people who were a little kooky, both as an adjective and as a noun, too: an eccentric is an unconventional, odd person. Think of them as following a slightly different orbit from the rest of society.

Definitions of eccentric
  1. adjective
    conspicuously or grossly unconventional or unusual
    “famed for his eccentric spelling”
    synonyms: bizarre, flakey, flaky, freakish, freaky, gonzo, off-the-wall, outlandish, outre
    not conventional or conformist
  2. noun
    a person with an unusual or odd personality
    synonyms: eccentric person, flake, geek, oddball
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    crackpot, crank, fruitcake, nut, nut case, screwball
    a whimsically eccentric person
    nutter, wacko, whacko
    a person who is regarded as eccentric or mad
    type of:
    anomaly, unusual person
    a person who is unusual
  3. noun
    a person of a specified kind (usually with many eccentricities)
    “a friendly eccentric
    synonyms: case, character, type
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    type of:
    adult, grownup
    a fully developed person from maturity onward
  4. adjective
    not having a common center; not concentric
    eccentric circles”
    synonyms: nonconcentric
    not centered or having no center
    off-center, off-centered
    situated away from the center or axis
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    concentric, concentrical, homocentric
    having a common center
    coaxal, coaxial
    having a common axis
    show more antonyms...
Word Family

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