English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

It seems like eclectic and diverse have the same meaning, but there must be some difference. What is it?

Did a search on Google but didn't find any info.

share|improve this question
Google does not count as research. What do published dictionaries say about this? – tchrist Feb 28 '13 at 14:22

They are quite different.

Eclectic has the definition of selecting from various systems, doctrines, or sources, while diverse simply means differing from one another.

She has an eclectic taste in music.

People have diverse interests in how water is used.

Eclectic also has the definition of composed of elements drawn from various sources, which is also pretty different from the second definition of diverse: composed of distinct or unlike elements or qualities.

An eclectic group of assistant...

The community is very diverse in terms of...

And unlike diverse, eclectic can also be used as a noun to describe a person who uses eclectic methods in philosophy, science, or art.

References: CED & OED.

share|improve this answer

For me, diverse is a synonym of different, varying or a range of, whereas eclectic expresses a somewhat unexpected mixture of styles or cultures.

"Bringing people from diverse backgrounds together"

"I have diverse interests, including hockey, birdwatching and cooking"

"The museum held an eclectic collection of oriental rugs, African pottery and European art".

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.