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adjective ca·pri·cious \kə-ˈpri-shəs, -ˈprē-\

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

Full Definition of capricious

  1. :  governed or characterized by caprice :  impulsive, unpredictable

ca·pri·cious·ly adverb
ca·pri·cious·ness noun

Examples of capricious

  1. … every balloon voyage is a race between capricious winds and the amount of fuel on board. —Tom Morganthau, Newsweek, 29 Mar. 1999

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. employees who are at the mercy of a capricious manager

  6. The court ruled that the punishment was arbitrary and capricious.

Origin of capricious

(see caprice)

First Known Use: 1601

Synonym Discussion of capricious

inconstant, fickle, capricious, mercurial, unstable mean lacking firmness or steadiness (as in purpose or devotion). inconstant implies an incapacity for steadiness and an inherent tendency to change <an inconstant friend>. fickle suggests unreliability because of perverse changeability and incapacity for steadfastness <performers discover how fickle fans can be>. capricious suggests motivation by sudden whim or fancy and stresses unpredictability <an utterly capricious critic>. mercurial implies a rapid changeability in mood <made anxious by her boss's mercurial temperament>. unstable implies an incapacity for remaining in a fixed position or steady course and applies especially to a lack of emotional balance <too unstable to hold a job>.

Rhymes with capricious

CAPRICIOUS Defined for Kids


adjective ca·pri·cious \kə-ˈpri-shəs\

Definition of capricious

  1. 1 :  moved or controlled by a sudden desire <a capricious shopper>

  2. 2 :  likely to change suddenly <capricious weather>

ca·pri·cious·ly adverb

Seen and Heard

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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