in·​con·​stant (ˌ)in-ˈkän(t)-stənt How to pronounce inconstant (audio)
: likely to change frequently without apparent or cogent reason
inconstantly adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for inconstant

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 inconstant in a Sentence

the inconstant nature of the business our windjammer sailed wherever the inconstant winds took us
Recent Examples on the Web That’s the one constant in this inconstant series. Dave Hyde, Sun Sentinel, 28 May 2022 Oedipus and the Riddle Quadruped in the dawn, erect at noon, and wandering on three legs across the blind spaces of afternoon; so the eternal Sphinx saw her inconstant brother, Man. Sean Carroll, Discover Magazine, 19 Aug. 2011 The moon is earth’s closest, albeit inconstant, companion. Korey Haynes, Discover Magazine, 11 June 2019 West Virginia has fielded some of the Big 12′s toughest defenses under Neal Brown, but is still one game under .500 since 2019 because of inconstant offense. Dallas News, 13 July 2022 Despite their impact, these inventions trickled across Eurasia, because trade was slow and inconstant. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 2 Sep. 2011 Turgenev was also indecisive, inconstant, maybe even a bit unreliable. Keith Gessen, The New Yorker, 29 Aug. 2022 The former President’s endorsement last month of Oz—a television celebrity who had not lived in Pennsylvania for decades, and whose commitment to conservative principles was at best inconstant—was seen as an out-of-the-box choice. The New Yorker, 15 May 2022 No indications of inconstant constants have yet emerged. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, 1 Feb. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inconstant.' 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, from Middle French, from Latin inconstant-, inconstans, from in- + constant-, constans constant

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of inconstant was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near inconstant

Cite this Entry

“Inconstant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​con·​stant (ˈ)in-ˈkän(t)-stənt How to pronounce inconstant (audio)
: likely to change frequently without apparent reason : changeable

Medical Definition


in·​con·​stant ˈin-ˈkän(t)-stənt How to pronounce inconstant (audio)
: not always present
an inconstant muscle
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