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[ek-suh n-tris-i-tee, ek-sen-] /ˌɛk sənˈtrɪs ɪ ti, ˌɛk sɛn-/
noun, plural eccentricities.
an oddity or peculiarity, as of conduct:
an interesting man, known for his eccentricities.
the quality of being eccentric.
the amount by which something is eccentric.
Machinery. the distance between the centers of two cylindrical objects one of which surrounds the other, as between an eccentric and the shaft on which it is mounted.
Mathematics. a constant expressed as the ratio of the distance from a point on a conic to a focus and the distance from the point to the directrix.
1545-55; < Medieval Latin eccentricitās, equivalent to eccentric- (see eccentric) + -itās -ity
2. queerness, strangeness, oddness, freakishness, aberration. Eccentricity, peculiarity, quirk, idiosyncrasy all refer to some noticeable deviation in behavior, style, or manner from what is normal or expected. Eccentricity usually suggests a mildly amusing but harmless characteristic or style: a whimsical eccentricity in choice of clothing. Peculiarity is the most general of these words, referring to almost any perceptible oddity or departure from any norm: the peculiarity of his eyelashes, of the weather. Quirk often refers to a minor, unimportant kind of oddity: Her one quirk was a habit of speaking to strangers in elevators. Sometimes quirk has overtones of strangeness: sexual quirks. Idiosyncrasy refers to a variation in behavior or manner exclusive to or characteristic of a single individual: idiosyncrasies of style that irritated editors but often delighted readers. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for eccentricities
  • Their eccentricities seem to have been a reflection of their scientific genius.
  • So the overlords of open source are left to their regal eccentricities.
  • eccentricities of orbit shape account for varying velocities.
  • With all the delightful quirks and eccentricities that entails.
  • But she sang well enough, and her dramatic involvement goes a long way toward compensating for her vocal eccentricities.
  • And the outsiders' eccentricities haven't exactly endeared them to the locals.
  • But the film spends so little time on their childhood that the eccentricities seem confusing instead of endearing.
  • It's a broad description, but it leaves a lot of room for oddities and eccentricities.
  • It appreciates its characters' eccentricities but it neither exploits nor sentimentalizes them.
  • Not only has it explained many of my eccentricities, it helps me to redefine my entire life in a new and positive context.
British Dictionary definitions for eccentricities


noun (pl) -ties
unconventional or irregular behaviour
deviation from a circular path or orbit
a measure of the noncircularity of an elliptical orbit, the distance between the foci divided by the length of the major axis
(geometry) a number that expresses the shape of a conic section: the ratio of the distance of a point on the curve from a fixed point (the focus) to the distance of the point from a fixed line (the directrix)
the degree of displacement of the geometric centre of a rotating part from the true centre, esp of the axis of rotation of a wheel or shaft
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for eccentricities



1540s, of planetary orbits; 1650s, of persons (an instance of eccentricity); 1794, of persons (a quality of eccentricity); from eccentric (adj.) + -ity. Related: Eccentricities.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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eccentricities in Science
  1. A measure of the deviation of an elliptical path, especially an orbit, from a perfect circle. It is equal to the ratio of the distance between the foci of the ellipse to the length of the major axis of the ellipse (the distance between the two points farthest apart on the ellipse). Eccentricity ranges from zero (for a perfect circle) to values approaching 1 (highly elongated ellipses).

  2. The ratio of the distance of any point on a conic section from a focus to its distance from the corresponding directrix. This ratio is constant for any particular conic section.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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