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caprice

[kuh-prees]
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noun
  1. a sudden, unpredictable change, as of one's mind or the weather.
  2. a tendency to change one's mind without apparent or adequate motive; whimsicality; capriciousness: With the caprice of a despotic king, he alternated between kindness and cruelty.
  3. Music. capriccio(def 1).
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Origin of caprice

1660–70; < French < Italian; see capriccio

Synonyms

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1. vagary, notion, whim, fancy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for caprice

Historical Examples

  • I cannot give any reason but caprice for quitting this ship.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • It was caprice that took me from the Silvie de Grasse, and put me in her sister-liner.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The devotion of Mr Sparkler was only to be equalled by the caprice and cruelty of his enslaver.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • It is better to be torn to pieces at a spring, than to be a mouse at the caprice of such a cat.'

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • But every one now knows that La Tonietta's caprice is Dario.


British Dictionary definitions for caprice

caprice

noun
  1. a sudden or unpredictable change of attitude, behaviour, etc; whim
  2. a tendency to such changes
  3. another word for capriccio
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Word Origin

C17: from French, from Italian capriccio a shiver, caprice, from capo head + riccio hedgehog, suggesting a convulsive shudder in which the hair stood on end like a hedgehog's spines; meaning also influenced by Italian capra goat, by folk etymology
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for caprice

n.

"sudden change of mind," 1660s, from French caprice "whim" (16c.), from Italian capriccio "whim," originally "a shivering," possibly from capro "goat," with reference to frisking, from Latin capreolus "wild goat" (see cab). But another theory connects the Italian word with capo "head" + riccio "curl, frizzled," literally "hedgehog" (from Latin ericius). The notion in this case would be of the hair standing on end in horror, hence the person shivering in fear.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper