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

Did You Know?

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

Who says being an elegant grown-up means having to strap your toes into vertiginous prison cells, forcing you to hobble from Uber to entrance? Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "These Offbeat Black-Tie Shoes Are Crazy, Comfy, Cool," 17 Mar. 2019 The energy sector is already changing with vertiginous speed. David Roberts, Vox, "Clean energy is catching up to natural gas," 8 Aug. 2018 The vertiginous decline has been largely attributed to an oversupply of oil, caused by U.S. shale production, timid production cuts by OPEC nations and generous sanctions waivers by the U.S. for Iranian oil. Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, "Oil Demand Flashes Red, Sending Crude Prices Even Lower," 20 Dec. 2018 Now a wave of chic design hotels and cool new restaurants have popped up in the vertiginous stone structures, and this year, a range of cultural festivities will honor the city’s new vibe. Christina Pérez, Vogue, "Here’s Where to Travel in 2019," 26 Dec. 2018 But then, just as vertiginous as its ascent, came its fall. The Economist, "Out with a whimperThe rapid rise and fall of the Anbang empire," 23 Feb. 2018 Spencer Platt/Getty Images Take a step back and appreciate the vertiginous absurdity of the fact that our military is now being mobilized to defend our border from a walking caravan of refugees from Central America. David Roberts, Vox, "The caravan “invasion” and America’s epistemic crisis," 2 Nov. 2018 On the island of Ischia, near Naples, stands a fortress, a formidable set of battlements and turrets that seem to shoot out of sheer rock, with a vertiginous drop to the sea below. Sarah Dunant, New York Times, "Who Was Vittoria Colonna? Just One of Italy’s Great Poets...," 1 June 2018 The two-lane highway, which traverses vertiginous cliffs and is a popular scenic driving route for tourists, ruptured in two places from mudslides amid torrential downpours this spring. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "Big Sur Tourism Drops to a Trickle as a Scenic Drive Turns Into a Footpath," 21 July 2017

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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Last Updated

27 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for vertiginous

The first known use of vertiginous was in 1608

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English Language Learners Definition of vertiginous

formal : 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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