“With backgrounds ranging from classical music to hip hop, the eclectic group of musicians set out to create an entirely new sound.”

What is the best definition of eclectic?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Mutually exclusive and irreconcilable
Choice B - Stemming from a common source
Choice C - Including a variety of components
Choice D - Formed in a haphazard or chaotic manner


Eclectic (adjective) – including or derived from a variety of backgrounds, disciplines, sources, tastes, or doctrines  

Eclectic (noun) – a person whose ideas, philosophies, or tastes are derived from several diverse sources

GRE pro tips:

Eclectic is derived from the roots ec (“out”) and leg (“to gather”). Accordingly, the word was originally used to describe someone who – instead of subscribing to one school of thought or philosophy – gathered ideas and concepts out of a variety of philosophical schools. Likewise, in today’s usage, eclectic can be used in reference to an individual whose ideas, tastes, or philosophies borrow from several (or many) disparate sources. However, it is more often used as an adjective, to indicate that something is composed of diverse components or else exhibits a variety of influences. For instance, an eclectic group of professors would include those who teach a variety of disciplines; and a truly eclectic style of music is one that has been influenced by a diverse range of musicians – likely spanning multiple genres or generations.

To better remember eclectic, perhaps you can recall the Eclecticats, an eclectic group of feline musicians who came together to create a new sound.

Example sentences:

“The house they were buying was a wonderful example of eclectic architecture, still maintaining many of the original 1800s characteristics as well as many modern features that had been added during various additions and renovations.”

“Although considering himself an adherent of Hinduism, Ghandi was really an eclectic, often deriving his ideas from the Bible and the Quran as well as from Hindu texts such as the Ghita.”