ver·​tig·​i·​nous | \ (ˌ)vər-ˈti-jə-nəs How to pronounce vertiginous (audio) \

Definition of vertiginous

1a : characterized by or suffering from vertigo or dizziness
b : inclined to frequent and often pointless change : inconstant
2 : causing or tending to cause dizziness the vertiginous heights
3 : marked by turning : rotary the vertiginous motion of the earth

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Other Words from vertiginous

vertiginously adverb

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It is generally necessary to avoid crowded rooms and the vertiginous influence of the dance, one 19th-century medical work advised. We're not sure what condition this advice was aimed at, but it may well have been "vertigo," a disordered state characterized by whirling dizziness. "Vertiginous," from the Latin vertiginosus, is the adjective form of "vertigo," which in Latin means a turning or whirling action. Both words descend from the Latin verb vertere, meaning "to turn." ("Vertiginous" and "vertigo" are just two of an almost dizzying array of "vertere" offspring, from "adverse" to "vortex.") The "dizzying" sense of "vertiginous" is often used figuratively, as in "vertiginous medical discoveries may drastically change life in the 21st century."

Examples of vertiginous in a Sentence

a 3-D effect that is likely to leave some audience members feeling vertiginous
Recent Examples on the Web This time, instead of gawking at vertiginous geology, we were transfixed by the 1,400 bison that live here (plus the prairie dog village). Web Behrens,, 9 Sep. 2021 The result stands among the vertiginous apexes of film history, with Sewell’s editing providing the rhythmic emotion that cements the film’s status as one of the greatest of all time. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2021 During our conversation Hood told me about several websites (which will not be named to avoid driving traffic to them) being monitored by CCDH which have, in the last few months alone, seen vertiginous growth in their user base. Vicky Spratt,, 18 Aug. 2021 Fifteen miles from Favignana, Marettimo is the most vertiginous and mystical of the Egadis. Stephanie Rafanelli, Condé Nast Traveler, 5 Aug. 2021 The two experiences combined, unbidden, into a vertiginous sensation of time travel. Washington Post, 8 July 2021 Performers want to preserve a sense of identity and pride, not to mention their livelihoods, from having mastered instruments with a vertiginous learning curve. Jennifer Gerste, The New Yorker, 2 July 2021 The Gambler describes this addiction, which, like execution and epilepsy, offers the vertiginous thrill of a maximally intense moment—in this case, because the next instant can make one either a millionaire or a beggar. Gary Saul Morson, The New York Review of Books, 15 June 2021 Like the heel, the price, too, is more vertiginous. Jessica Iredale, New York Times, 15 June 2021

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

1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for vertiginous

Latin vertiginosus, from vertigin-, vertigo

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The first known use of vertiginous was in 1608

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Last Updated

13 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vertiginous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for vertiginous



English Language Learners Definition of vertiginous

: causing or likely to cause a feeling of dizziness especially because of great height


ver·​tig·​i·​nous | \ (ˌ)vər-ˈtij-ə-nəs How to pronounce vertiginous (audio) \

Medical Definition of vertiginous

: of, relating to, characterized by, or affected with vertigo or dizziness


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