fick·​le | \ˈfi-kəl \

Definition of fickle 

: marked by lack of steadfastness, constancy, or stability : given to erratic changeableness

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Other Words from fickle

fickleness noun
fickly \ˈfi-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for fickle

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

Examples of fickle in a Sentence

The Weak will suck up to the Strong, for fear of losing their jobs and their money and all the fickle power they wielded only twenty-four hours ago. — Hunter S. Thompson, Rolling Stone, 11 Nov. 2004 The corporate fan who has replaced the core fan is a fickle beast, choosy about which games he'll use his precious free time to attend. — E. M. Swift, Sports Illustrated, 15 May 2000 A failed play was a denial of what Odets was owed, for he was chasing the public no differently than did his bourgeois and nonrevolutionary contemporaries, a public as fickle as it always was and is. — Arthur Miller, Harper's, March 1999 War is like hard-drug abuse or a fickle lover, an apparently contradictory bolt of compulsion, agony and ecstasy that draws you back in the face of better judgment time and time again. — Anthony Loyd, My War Gone By, 1999 He blames poor sales on fickle consumers. a fickle friendship that was on and off over the years
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Recent Examples on the Web

Saudi Arabia has also proved to be a fickle ally in recent years. Karen Elliott House, WSJ, "Rethinking Saudi Arabia," 30 Nov. 2018 Skin-care for pregnant women and those of us trying to conceive (TTC) can be a fickle mistress. Jane Chertoff, SELF, "5 Acne Products That Are Safe to Use While Pregnant or Trying to Conceive," 12 Oct. 2018 The poster child for heirloom-tomato mania, Brandywine is a fickle sort. Craig Lehoullier, Good Housekeeping, "The 19 Most Delicious Heirloom Tomatoes in the World," 8 Aug. 2018 There was also the lakefront’s notoriously fickle weather, which can toy mercilessly with an outdoor eatery-and-music venue like The Terrace. Dan Moran, Lake County News-Sun, "Moran: Waukegan native who led lakefront revitalization moves on to Wicker Park restaurant," 29 June 2018 The potato-breeding industry is a notoriously fickle and slow-moving one. Dugan Arnett,, "In northern Maine, a new spud rises," 12 June 2018 The weekend exodus for Memorial Day has begun, and the weather is going to be a bit fickle over the next several days. Dave Epstein,, "Your Memorial Day weekend forecast: warm Friday and Saturday, then cooler," 24 May 2018 That means Division III schools like MSOE can blaze a trail for the sport, even in the fickle weather of Wisconsin. Lori Nickel, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "MSOE ready to blaze a trail in women's triathlon," 30 Apr. 2018 Olympic Rooftop Pavilion, Seattle, WA Get all of the benefits of an outdoor wedding venue without having to worry about the fickle Pacific Northwest weather at the Olympic Rooftop Pavilion. Mandy Ferreira, Sunset, "8 Wedding Venues with Jaw-Dropping Views," 22 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fickle.' 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 fickle

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fickle

Middle English fikel deceitful, inconstant, from Old English ficol deceitful; akin to Old English befician to deceive, and probably to Old English fāh hostile — more at foe

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Statistics for fickle

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fickle

The first known use of fickle was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for fickle



English Language Learners Definition of fickle

: changing often

: changing opinions often


fick·​le | \ˈfi-kəl \

Kids Definition of fickle

: changing often : not reliable fickle friends fickle weather

Other Words from fickle

fickleness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on fickle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fickle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fickle

Spanish Central: Translation of fickle

Nglish: Translation of fickle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fickle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on fickle

What made you want to look up fickle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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