Simple Definition of capricious
: changing often and quickly; especially : often changing suddenly in mood or behavior
: not logical or reasonable : based on an idea, desire, etc., that is not possible to predict
Examples of capricious in a sentence
… every balloon voyage is a race between capricious winds and the amount of fuel on board. —Tom Morganthau, Newsweek, 29 Mar. 1999
She is capricious, however, and is said to take bribes and wantonly peddle her influence from time to time. —Hunter S. Thompson, Rolling Stone, 15 Dec. 1994
Lady Luck is a capricious mother who, as in a recurrent nightmare, always offers, never comes through, and never stops smiling. —Hugh Drummond, Boston Magazine, November 1989
I don't believe in random occurrences or blind chance, though I know the patterns of this world are capricious and terribly complex. —Leslie Marmon Silko, letter, 21 Aug. 1979
employees who are at the mercy of a capricious manager
The court ruled that the punishment was arbitrary and capricious.
Did You Know?
The noun caprice, which first appeared in English in the mid-17th century, is a synonym of whim. Evidence shows that the adjective capricious debuted about sixty years before caprice; it's likely, however, that both words derived via French from the Italian capriccio, which originally referred not to a sudden desire but to a sudden shudder of fear. Capriccio in turn derives from the Italian capo, meaning "head," and riccio, the word for "hedgehog." Someone who shuddered in fear, therefore, was said to have a "hedgehog head"-meaning that his or her hair stood on end like the spines of a hedgehog.
Origin and Etymology of capricious
First Known Use: 1601
Synonym Discussion of capricious
CAPRICIOUS Defined for Kids
Definition of capricious for Students
1 : moved or controlled by a sudden desire <a capricious shopper>
2 : likely to change suddenly <capricious weather>
Legal Definition of capricious
1 : governed or characterized by impulse or whim: as a : lacking a rational basis b : likely to change suddenly
2 : not supported by the weight of evidence or established rules of law —often used in the phrase arbitrary and capricious
Seen and Heard
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