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 Sitting in a discreetly lavish apartment, and wearing a stunning green dress with bulky statement jewelry, Wintour describes her vertiginous rise to the top — from somewhere remarkably close to the top. Irina Dumitrescu, Longreads, "How to Learn Everything: The MasterClass Diaries," 20 Aug. 2020 The past couple of decades have brought two fast bulls: vertiginous surges in share prices, neither lasting more than a year. The Economist, "A new bull market in China Stockmarket mania comes to China again. Can it last this time?," 7 July 2020 Affect was Holleran’s subject in his New York Notebook, and his feeling for the inner life in catastrophe—or of the vertiginous way inner life and external circumstance become porous—is what has sent me back to it. Garth Greenwell, The New Yorker, "“Chronicle of a Plague, Revisited” and the Inner Life of Catastrophe," 15 Apr. 2020 On the other hand, the movie’s vertiginous moral themes are tucked inside an understated but symbolic depiction of everyday life. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Planned Parenthood Is the Real Star of Never Rarely Sometimes Always," 8 Apr. 2020 Seen here from her Upstate New York district — a vast region of vertiginous Adirondack mountain peaks and far-flung valley towns known collectively as the North Country — there’s a lot less mystery. Griff Witte, Washington Post, "A moderate congresswoman went all-in for Trump. Her constituents think they know why.," 13 Dec. 2019 By that measure, expected inflation over the next five years began a vertiginous fall in mid February. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, "The Fed and the Virus," 2 Apr. 2020 Touching on everything from race and class to single-payer health care, this bracing exercise in unvarnished honesty is a nervy tightrope act that feels as vertiginous as its protagonist’s own madcap journey to clarity. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, "The 34 best political movies ever made," 23 Jan. 2020 In these exhilarating, vertiginous landscapes, technology triumphs, and the individual human being has vanished. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Liu Wei uses dog chews to create anti-’Hall of Architecture’ at Cleveland Museum of Art," 5 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for vertiginous

Time Traveler

The first known use of vertiginous was in 1608

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Last Updated

31 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vertiginous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for vertiginous


How to pronounce vertiginous (audio)

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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