fick·​le | \ ˈfi-kəl How to pronounce fickle (audio) \

Definition of fickle

: marked by lack of steadfastness, constancy, or stability : given to erratic changeableness

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Other Words from fickle

fickleness noun
fickly \ ˈfi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce fickle (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for fickle

inconstant, fickle, capricious, mercurial, unstable mean lacking firmness or steadiness (as in purpose or devotion). inconstant implies an incapacity for steadiness and an inherent tendency to change. an inconstant friend fickle suggests unreliability because of perverse changeability and incapacity for steadfastness. performers discover how fickle fans can be capricious suggests motivation by sudden whim or fancy and stresses unpredictability. an utterly capricious critic mercurial implies a rapid changeability in mood. made anxious by her boss's mercurial temperament 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

Examples of fickle in a Sentence

The Weak will suck up to the Strong, for fear of losing their jobs and their money and all the fickle power they wielded only twenty-four hours ago. — Hunter S. Thompson, Rolling Stone, 11 Nov. 2004 The corporate fan who has replaced the core fan is a fickle beast, choosy about which games he'll use his precious free time to attend. — E. M. Swift, Sports Illustrated, 15 May 2000 A failed play was a denial of what Odets was owed, for he was chasing the public no differently than did his bourgeois and nonrevolutionary contemporaries, a public as fickle as it always was and is. — Arthur Miller, Harper's, March 1999 War is like hard-drug abuse or a fickle lover, an apparently contradictory bolt of compulsion, agony and ecstasy that draws you back in the face of better judgment time and time again. — Anthony Loyd, My War Gone By, 1999 He blames poor sales on fickle consumers. a fickle friendship that was on and off over the years
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Recent Examples on the Web The fickle object has been named after its coordinates in the night sky: ASKAP J173608.2-321635. Katie Hunt, CNN, 12 Oct. 2021 That's sometimes how fickle the tennis game can be. Adam Baum, The Enquirer, 21 Aug. 2021 But connection is a fickle beast, full of paradoxes. Kristen Sieffert, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 Instead, his story dives headfirst into the challenges of creating identity, the agony of growing up and the ever-fickle nuances of family. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, 19 Aug. 2021 Dalhausser and Lucena had teamed up earlier in their careers before splitting up, giving them insight into the fickle nature of partnerships. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2021 Relief from these conditions relies on fickle weather patterns shifting winds away from the East or fires improving in Canada and the West. NBC News, 29 July 2021 The younger generation scoffs at the way their parents seem fatally, comically stuck in the past; the adults rue the fickle softness of their children. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, 26 July 2021 The fickle nature of waves is why one day’s contest might be delayed by a couple of hours, or from morning to afternoon, or maybe to the next day or the one after that. John Branch, New York Times, 25 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fickle.' 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 fickle

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fickle

Middle English fikel deceitful, inconstant, from Old English ficol deceitful; akin to Old English befician to deceive, and probably to Old English fāh hostile — more at foe

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The first known use of fickle was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

18 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fickle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of fickle

: changing often
: changing opinions often


fick·​le | \ ˈfi-kəl How to pronounce fickle (audio) \

Kids Definition of fickle

: changing often : not reliable fickle friends fickle weather

Other Words from fickle

fickleness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on fickle

Nglish: Translation of fickle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fickle for Arabic Speakers


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