ver·​tig·​i·​nous (ˌ)vər-ˈti-jə-nəs How to pronounce vertiginous (audio)
: characterized by or suffering from vertigo or dizziness
: inclined to frequent and often pointless change : inconstant
: causing or tending to cause dizziness
the vertiginous heights
: marked by turning : rotary
the vertiginous motion of the earth
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 Occasionally, Galactus — who most often appears as a towering man wearing a vertiginous helmet with two striking antennae — has even worked with the Fantastic Four (and the Avengers) to defeat other enemies. Katcy Stephan, Variety, 9 May 2024 The 1980s saw a vertiginous rise in the number of people, children as well as adults, who claimed to have been abused by devil worshipers. Clay Risen, New York Times, 12 Apr. 2024 And Fanon does understand, better than any other thinker, the vertiginous high of standing over your tormentor, of regaining a sense of agency. Gal Beckerman, The Atlantic, 28 Mar. 2024 The overall number of high school seniors in 2028 is projected to be 3.6 million, down 14% from 2008, when the U.S. fertility rate began its vertiginous slide. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 Mar. 2024 He is gifted with vertiginous erudition and witty humor. Addie Morfoot, Variety, 14 Mar. 2024 The vertiginous silhouette — though difficult to pull off — was so nice, Hüller essentially wore it twice. Leah Dolan, CNN, 14 Mar. 2024 At its core, my unease comes from the inescapable notion that the internet has imposed its vertiginous scale on some of the most personal elements of my life. Charlie Warzel, The Atlantic, 8 Mar. 2024 As much contrast as there is between Simon’s endearingly genuine voice and Shostakovich’s wry sarcasm, an affinity exists between their adventurous orchestration — bristling percussion, slingshot strings, vertiginous climaxes and crashes. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 6 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vertiginous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin vertiginosus, from vertigin-, vertigo

First Known Use

1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of vertiginous was in 1608


Dictionary Entries Near vertiginous

Cite this Entry

“Vertiginous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Medical Definition


ver·​tig·​i·​nous (ˌ)vər-ˈtij-ə-nəs How to pronounce vertiginous (audio)
: of, relating to, characterized by, or affected with vertigo or dizziness
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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