capricious

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

Definition of capricious

:governed or characterized by caprice :impulsive, unpredictable

capriciously

adverb

capriciousness

noun

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Examples of capricious in a Sentence

  1. … every balloon voyage is a race between capricious winds and the amount of fuel on board. —Tom MorganthauNewsweek29 Mar. 1999
  2. She is capricious, however, and is said to take bribes and wantonly peddle her influence from time to time. —Hunter S. ThompsonRolling Stone15 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 DrummondBoston MagazineNovember 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 Silkoletter21 Aug. 1979
  5. employees who are at the mercy of a capricious manager

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

Recent Examples of capricious from the Web

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

How Long Has caprice Appeared in English?

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

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

CAPRICIOUS Defined for English Language Learners

capricious

adjective

Definition of capricious for English Language Learners

  • : 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


CAPRICIOUS Defined for Kids

capricious

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

Definition of capricious for Students

1 :moved or controlled by a sudden desire
  • a capricious shopper
2 :likely to change suddenly
  • capricious weather

capriciously

adverb

Law Dictionary

capricious

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

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

capriciously

adverb

capriciousness

noun


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