Definition of vicissitude
1a : the quality or state of being changeable : mutabilityb : natural change or mutation visible in nature or in human affairs
2a : a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance : a fluctuation of state or condition the vicissitudes of daily lifeb : a difficulty or hardship attendant on a way of life, a career, or a course of action and usually beyond one's controlc : alternating change : succession
vicissitude was our Word of the Day on 11/28/2016. Hear the podcast!
Recent Examples of vicissitude from the Web
Getting to bed and waking at the same time each day helps buffer me from the vicissitudes of life and my illness.
But this summer and fall will bring, depending on the vicissitudes of publishing industry timing, the last of those Obama-era thrillers.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vicissitude'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
"Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better," wrote British theologian Richard Hooker in the 16th century. That observation may shed some light on vicissitude, a word that can refer simply to the fact of change, or to an instance of it, but that often refers specifically to hardship or difficulty brought about by change. To survive "the vicissitudes of life" is thus to survive life's ups and downs, with special emphasis on the downs. Vicissitude is a descendant of the Latin noun vicis, meaning "change" or "alternation," and it has been a part of the English language since the 16th century. In contemporary usage, it most often occurs in the plural.
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