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.

  • 3
    Google does not count as research. What do published dictionaries say about this?
    – tchrist
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 14:22

2 Answers 2


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.

  • I don't quite understand the third example user "nyan nyan nyan" provided. Seems like it would be "An eclectic group of assistants". Notice the word "assistant is now plural. I could be wrong. I believe in some situations the words are interchangeable.
    – Tones
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 20:22

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".

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