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Word of the day: Heteroclite

Heteroclite

ˈhedərəˌklīt

NOUN

An abnormal thing or person.

An irregularly declined word, especially a Greek or Latin noun.

ADJECTIVE

Abnormal or irregular.

EXAMPLE SENTENCES

“My grandfather held a number of heteroclite beliefs, including that one must always drown out heavy rain with loud music.”

“My neighbor is friendly, but she’s a heteroclite — I’ve seen her walking a pet raccoon on a leash.”

“The hotel’s most heteroclite guest kept several pet goats in his room.”

WORD ORIGIN

Greek, late 15th century

WHY THIS WORD?

“Heteroclite,” as an adjective, describes behavior or opinions out of the ordinary. And like its synonym “eccentric,” “heteroclite” also can be a noun describing a person who behaves in such an irregular manner. British culture has long celebrated heteroclite people — or heteroclites — in works such as John Timbs’ 1866 book “English Eccentrics and Eccentricities,” and Edith Sitwell’s 1933 book “The English Eccentrics.” In more recent decades, the British newspaper “The Telegraph” ran a special obituary series (also published as a 2022 book) called “Eccentric Lives.”

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