fick·​le ˈfi-kəl How to pronounce fickle (audio)
: marked by lack of steadfastness, constancy, or stability : given to erratic changeableness
fickleness noun
fickly 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
Recent Examples on the Web The formal experimentation is relegated to the editing and story structure, which unfolds in jagged ellipticals, mimicking a fickle, troubled mind. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2024 The amount of revenue needed would be significant, and sales taxes can be fickle, fluctuating with the larger economy and the popularity of the teams. Jonathan Shorman, Kansas City Star, 4 June 2024 But this success is new and Smith is familiar with the fickle nature of the industry. Spin Contributor, SPIN, 31 May 2024 Creating a line of consumer products is an age-old way for entertainers to diversify their revenue streams in a fickle industry, but stamping an über-famous name on a lipstick is no longer enough to make consumers want to buy it. Lucy Feldman, TIME, 29 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for fickle 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fickle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near fickle

Cite this Entry

“Fickle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


fick·​le ˈfik-əl How to pronounce fickle (audio)
: likely to change frequently without good reason : inconstant
fickle friends
fickleness noun
fickly adverb

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