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

Big banks are hauling in fat profits, driven not by the ebbs and flows of fickle financial markets, but by strength in the real economy. Matt Egan, CNN, "If cracks are forming in the US economy, banks didn't get the memo," 17 July 2019 Crowds of local residents braved fickle, and at times inclement, weather to attend Lakewood’s annual firework display on the Fourth of July at Jeffco Stadium. Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post, "PHOTOS: Lakewood Fourth of July festivities get the go-ahead, despite bad weather," 5 July 2019 Nature can be fickle, but using science to engineer solutions allows precise methods to combat natural pathogens. Hank Campbell, WSJ, "Science Saves an Old Chestnut," 19 June 2019 Great Britain needs a serious leader who can heal its deepening divisions — not a fickle charm artist with a distaste for detail. Sahil Handa, National Review, "If It’s ‘Time for Boris,’ the Clock Has Stopped Working," 17 June 2019 With more options, habits shifted, and a fickle, younger generation of craft enthusiasts grew up with little brand loyalty., "Oregon’s craft brewers have a problem: ‘There’s just too much beer out there’," 14 June 2019 Durant also arrived looking for titles and the external validation from a fickle society that so often comes with them. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: Kevin Durant left $57 million on the table, and only one person knows why," 30 June 2019 But video apps are a particularly fickle business, as users inevitably flock to the next big thing. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Can TikTok Turn 950 Million Downloads Into a Booming Business?," 26 June 2019 But over the generations, deportations have also pushed family, friends and neighbors back to Mexico, past and current signs of a fickle country. Dallas News, "How immigration battles are firing up Latinos and putting Texas, battleground states in play for the presidential election," 23 June 2019

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

3 Aug 2019

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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
disapproving : changing opinions often


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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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).


a period when something is suspended

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