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 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 But today isn't the first time GrandPooBear has faced the seeming caprice of Nintendo's online moderation. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Nintendo deletes popular Mario Maker 2 level for unexplained reasons," 16 July 2019 Consider, for instance, Stu’s problem with low ratings, which passengers often post for reasons of caprice and spite. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Stuber is just an okay comedy, but it’s great dystopian horror," 12 July 2019 Wang’s direction is mostly understated, but her film includes some sublimely composed images that suggest the tacky caprices, the oases of beauty, and the matter-of-fact ordinariness of contemporary Chinese life. Mark Olsen,, "Indie Focus: Real lies and true emotions in ‘The Farewell’," 12 July 2019 In particular the subgenre of American short fiction known as minimalism captures … Characterized by the caprice and fatalism of fairy tales, the fiction of Shirley Jackson exerts a mordant, hypnotic spell. The New York Review of Books, "Joyce Carol Oates," 9 May 2019 Its earliest elements vanished long ago, destroyed by wars, weather, and human caprice. Bruce Dale, National Geographic, "Adored, neglected, and restored: A 1968 Nat Geo feature explored Notre Dame," 17 Apr. 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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Statistics for caprice

Last Updated

4 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Caprice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for caprice


How to pronounce caprice (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on caprice

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for caprice

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with caprice

Spanish Central: Translation of caprice

Nglish: Translation of caprice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of caprice for Arabic Speakers

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