/ek'seuhn tris"i tee, ek'sen-/, n., pl. eccentricities.1. an oddity or peculiarity, as of conduct: an interesting man, known for his eccentricities.2. the quality of being eccentric.3. the amount by which something is eccentric.4. Mach. 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.5. Math. 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; < ML eccentricitas, equiv. to eccentric- (see ECCENTRIC) + -itas -ITY]Syn. 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.
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