vagary

noun
va·​ga·​ry | \ ˈvā-gə-rē How to pronounce vagary (audio) ; və-ˈger-ē, vā- How to pronounce vagary (audio) ; also ˈva-gə-rē How to pronounce vagary (audio) \
plural vagaries

Definition of vagary

: an erratic, unpredictable, or extravagant manifestation, action, or notion

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Choose the Right Synonym for vagary

caprice, whim, vagary, crotchet mean an irrational or unpredictable idea or desire. caprice stresses lack of apparent motivation and suggests willfulness. by sheer caprice she quit her job whim implies a fantastic, capricious turn of mind or inclination. an odd antique that was bought on a whim vagary stresses the erratic, irresponsible character of the notion or desire. he had been prone to strange vagaries crotchet implies an eccentric opinion or preference. a serious scientist equally known for his bizarre crotchets

The Wandering History of Vagary

In the 16th century, if you "made a vagary" you took a wandering journey, or you figuratively wandered from a correct path by committing some minor offense. If you spoke or wrote vagaries, you wandered from a main subject. These senses hadn't strayed far from their origin, as vagary is probably based on Latin vagari, meaning "to wander." Indeed, in the 16th and 17th centuries there was even an English verb vagary that meant "to wander." Nowadays, the noun vagary is mostly used in its plural form, and vagaries have more to do with unpredictability than with wandering.

Examples of vagary in a Sentence

the vagaries of a rather eccentric, elderly lady

Recent Examples on the Web

This column is a great space to explore the vagaries of the human condition. Amy Dickinson, The Denver Post, "Ask Amy: Correcting the record on ammo and guns," 1 July 2019 This column is a great space to explore the vagaries of the human condition. Amy Dickinson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ask Amy: Correcting the record on ammo and guns," 30 June 2019 This column is a great space to explore the vagaries of the human condition. Amy Dickinson, chicagotribune.com, "Correcting the record on ammo and guns," 27 June 2019 Each research group first makes raw measurements, then attempts to account for the vagaries of individual telescopes, astrophysical unknowns, and countless other sources of uncertainty that can keep night-owl astronomers up all day. Quanta Magazine, "A Radically Conservative Solution for Cosmology’s Biggest Mystery," 1 May 2018 Despite its heritage, Wimbledon has always been at the forefront of innovation and this year organizers unveiled a new sliding roof on No.1 Court, a $89 million bid to counter the vagaries of the British weather. Rob Hodgetts, CNN, "Wimbledon 2019: Britain's tennis love-in and the quest for grand slam glory," 1 July 2019 This column is a great space to explore the vagaries of the human condition. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, "Ask Amy: Correcting the record on ammo," 1 July 2019 This column is a great space to explore the vagaries of the human condition. Amy Dickinson, The Mercury News, "Ask Amy revisits the gun question that brought threats against her," 1 July 2019 This column is a great space to explore the vagaries of the human condition. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Correcting the record on ammo and guns," 1 July 2019

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

1579, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for vagary

perhaps borrowed from Latin vagārī "to wander, roam" — more at vagabond entry 2

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Dictionary Entries near vagary

vagabondize

vagal

vagarious

vagary

vagation

vagged

vagging

Statistics for vagary

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vagary

The first known use of vagary was in 1579

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More from Merriam-Webster on vagary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vagary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vagary

Spanish Central: Translation of vagary

Nglish: Translation of vagary for Spanish Speakers

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