Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective capricious differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of capricious are fickle, inconstant, mercurial, and unstable. While all these words mean "lacking firmness or steadiness (as in purpose or devotion)," capricious suggests motivation by sudden whim or fancy and stresses unpredictability.

an utterly capricious critic

When can fickle be used instead of capricious?

In some situations, the words fickle and capricious are roughly equivalent. However, fickle suggests unreliability because of perverse changeability and incapacity for steadfastness.

performers discover how fickle fans can be

Where would inconstant be a reasonable alternative to capricious?

Although the words inconstant and capricious have much in common, inconstant implies an incapacity for steadiness and an inherent tendency to change.

an inconstant friend

When could mercurial be used to replace capricious?

The meanings of mercurial and capricious largely overlap; however, mercurial implies a rapid changeability in mood.

made anxious by her boss's mercurial temperament

When might unstable be a better fit than capricious?

While the synonyms unstable and capricious are close in meaning, unstable implies an incapacity for remaining in a fixed position or steady course and applies especially to a lack of emotional balance.

too unstable to hold a job


Thesaurus Entries Near capricious

Cite this Entry

“Capricious.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

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