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[kuh-prish-uh s, -pree-shuh s] /kəˈprɪʃ əs, -ˈpri ʃəs/
subject to, led by, or indicative of a sudden, odd notion or unpredictable change; erratic:
He's such a capricious boss I never know how he'll react.
Obsolete. fanciful or witty.
Origin of capricious
1585-95; < Italian capriccioso capriccioso
Related forms
capriciously, adverb
capriciousness, noun
noncapricious, adjective
noncapriciously, adverb
noncapriciousness, noun
uncapricious, adjective
uncapriciously, adverb
uncapriciousness, noun
1. variable, flighty, mercurial. See fickle.
1. steady, constant, consistent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for capriciousness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The capriciousness of love is also derived by him from an attachment to some god in a former world.

    Phaedrus Plato
  • Nor is this capriciousness exclusively the attribute of the poetic Muse.

  • My capriciousness had exhausted his patience, and he frankly said that he washed his hands of the "case."

    My Life Josiah Flynt
  • It was the time to alarm him by coldness, by capriciousness.

    The Grain Of Dust David Graham Phillips
  • capriciousness, natural in her condition,” commented all, even Capitan Tiago.

    The Social Cancer Jos Rizal
  • These gave the horse the reputation of capriciousness and unreliability.

    Clever Hans Oskar Pfungst
  • And it was on this account and for Norman's sake that Lois put up with her capriciousness.

    Gordon Keith

    Thomas Nelson Page
  • The capriciousness of the resolution startled me; but I approved whole-heartedly.

    Jaffery William J. Locke
  • The seriousness of the situation had extinguished in the girl all coquetry and capriciousness.

    Atlantis Gerhart Hauptmann
British Dictionary definitions for capriciousness


characterized by or liable to sudden unpredictable changes in attitude or behaviour; impulsive; fickle
Derived Forms
capriciously, adverb
capriciousness, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for capriciousness



1590s, from French capricieux "whimsical" (16c.), from Italian capriccioso, from capriccio (see caprice). Related: Capriciously; capriciousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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