fickle

adjective
fick·​le | \ ˈfi-kəl How to pronounce fickle (audio) \

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 How to pronounce fickly (audio) \ 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 More than a month of college football games in leagues across the country has shown the fickle and treacherous reality of playing during a pandemic. Alan Blinder, New York Times, "Southeastern Conference’s Crises Show How College Football Teeters Day by Day," 15 Oct. 2020 The latter is notoriously fickle — a thin-skinned grape, native to Burgundy, that proves challenging to cultivate. Bryce Wiatrak, SFChronicle.com, "A tasting tour through astoundingly good Sonoma Pinot Noir," 20 Nov. 2018 So how to regain public trust in science when the public is looking for certainties and when those who are supposed to impersonate doubt seem to be fickle or dogmatic? Liv Grjebine, Scientific American, "Why Doubt Is Essential to Science," 9 Oct. 2020 Fantasy football is a fickle mistress where Calvin Ridley can catch zero of his five targets and Olamide Zaccheaus winds up with eight receptions (out of nine targets). Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fantasy Football Week 5: Start and Sit," 8 Oct. 2020 Under the old management there was a squat, apoplectic Trinidadian—a charming and fickle Indian buffoon from early V. S. Naipaul. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's Magazine, "Reason Not the Need," 15 Sep. 2020 No surprise fickle fans are putting all the blame on Wentz. Rob Maaddi, Star Tribune, "Rough day for quarterbacks Wentz, Cousins, Trubisky, Haskins," 28 Sep. 2020 The news cycle is fickle: months of coronavirus, a white-hot burst of George Floyd, protests and Black Lives Matter. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Leaning In: Chef Jenn Ross on highlighting Black excellence," 8 Sep. 2020 For a while, coal companies said exports would save the industry, but world markets are fickle and energy-hungry Asia is difficult to supply from far-away Wyoming. Doug Struck, The Christian Science Monitor, "Power pivot: What happens in states where wind dethrones King Coal?," 21 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for fickle

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fickle

Last Updated

29 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fickle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fickle. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for fickle

fickle

adjective
How to pronounce fickle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fickle

: changing often
disapproving : changing opinions often

fickle

adjective
fick·​le | \ ˈfi-kəl How to pronounce fickle (audio) \

Kids Definition of fickle

: changing often : not reliable fickle friends fickle weather

Other Words from fickle

fickleness noun

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Comments on fickle

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