ca·​price | \ kə-ˈprēs How to pronounce caprice (audio) \

Definition of caprice

1a : a sudden, impulsive, and seemingly unmotivated notion or action policy changes that seem to be motivated by nothing more than caprice
b : a sudden usually unpredictable condition, change, or series of changes the caprices of the weather
2 : a disposition to do things impulsively a preference for democratic endeavor over authoritarian caprice

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Choose the Right Synonym for caprice

caprice, whim, vagary, crotchet mean an irrational or unpredictable idea or desire. caprice stresses lack of apparent motivation and suggests willfulness. by sheer caprice she quit her job whim implies a fantastic, capricious turn of mind or inclination. an odd antique that was bought on a whim vagary stresses the erratic, irresponsible character of the notion or desire. he had been prone to strange vagaries crotchet implies an eccentric opinion or preference. a serious scientist equally known for his bizarre crotchets

Examples of caprice in a Sentence

… Montana's "Durum Triangle," where the caprice of microclimates has led farmers to complain not of floods but of drought. — Florence Williams, New Republic, 16 Aug. 1999 But Castro has his army and his secret police and a reputation for ferocious caprice, and so he can make a whole people dance to his dementias. — Jack Beatty, Atlantic, January 1987 I'm allowing about ten days between here and the U.S.A. (that may be too much or too little, depending on the caprice of the Italian mails). — James Wright, letter, 28 May 1979 the caprices of the weather Employees have complained of being at the mercy of the manager's every whim and caprice. policy changes that seem to be motivated by nothing more than caprice
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Recent Examples on the Web Any time an immigration judge decides an immigrant’s fate in the United States, that decision is subject to change, based on the caprice of the attorney general. Marcia Brown, The New Republic, "The Best Way to Protect Immigrants From the Whims of Politics," 5 Oct. 2020 But on matters of policy, Yglesias is an unpredictable thinker, willing to fly in the face of tribal norms, sometimes with caprice, but in other moments with a clear aim in mind. Razib Khan, National Review, "One Billion Americans: A Contrarian Liberal Argues for Mass Immigration," 12 Sep. 2020 The differing responses reflect, at least in part, the caprice of a virus that has . Robert Klemko, Washington Post, "America’s coronavirus divide is reflected in two New Mexico mayors. One asked for a lockdown. The other defied orders.," 7 May 2020 Andy bobs up and down on the waves of the warden’s caprice, sometimes living relatively well and sometimes thrown in the hole. Kyle Smith, National Review, "America’s Favorite Movie," 4 Apr. 2020 All of life is in these books: beauty, wit, pride, faith, caprice, sorrow, regret, tenderness. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "A Walk With Homer Is an Earbud Odyssey," 3 Feb. 2020 In short, untethered from real democratic input, the EU at once suffocates European life with regulation and unmoors it with lawless caprice. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Why Brexit Matters," 31 Jan. 2020 But if government agencies such as the FEC put the screws to all the biggest players in Silicon Valley — as Weintraub seems to be planning — political caprice could shape the entire industry. Hans A. Von Spakovsky, National Review, "FEC Chair Embarks Down the High-Tech Road to Censorship," 12 Sep. 2019 And yet, the Trump Administration’s sudden enforcement of the death penalty reflects the President’s over-all approach to criminal justice, marked by caprice, contradiction, and a certain brutishness. Peter Slevin, The New Yorker, "Witnessing a Federal Execution," 4 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caprice.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of caprice

1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for caprice

French, from Italian capriccio caprice, shudder, perhaps from capo head (from Latin caput) + riccio hedgehog, from Latin ericius — more at head, urchin

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Time Traveler for caprice

Time Traveler

The first known use of caprice was in 1667

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Cite this Entry

“Caprice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for caprice



English Language Learners Definition of caprice

: a sudden change especially : a sudden change in someone's mood or behavior


ca·​price | \ kə-ˈprēs How to pronounce caprice (audio) \

Kids Definition of caprice

: a sudden change in feeling, opinion, or action : whim

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