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[fik-uh l] /ˈfɪk əl/
likely to change, especially due to caprice, irresolution, or instability; casually changeable:
fickle weather.
not constant or loyal in affections:
a fickle lover.
Origin of fickle
before 1000; Middle English fikel, Old English ficol deceitful, akin to fācen treachery, fician to deceive, gefic deception
Related forms
fickleness, noun
unfickle, adjective
1. unstable, unsteady, variable, capricious, fitful. 2. inconstant. 1, 2. Fickle, inconstant, capricious, vacillating describe persons or things that are not firm or steady in affection, behavior, opinion, or loyalty. Fickle implies an underlying perversity as a cause for the lack of stability: the fickle seasons, disappointing as often as they delight; once lionized, now rejected by a fickle public. Inconstant suggests an innate disposition to change: an inconstant lover, flitting from affair to affair. Capricious implies unpredictable changeability arising from sudden whim: a capricious administration constantly and inexplicably changing its signals; a capricious and astounding reversal of position. Vacillating means changeable due to lack of resolution or firmness: an indecisive, vacillating leader, apparently incapable of a sustained course of action. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fickle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She did not understand the workings of Pee-wee's active and fickle mind.

    Pee-wee Harris Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • Vere, Artois thought, might be violent, but would not be fickle.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • Of these the forms should be fixed, and not allowed to depend on the fickle breath of the multitude.

    Laws Plato
  • It is a fickle ally at best, and to rely on its support is to lean on a split reed.

    England and Germany Emile Joseph Dillon
  • It was all over, and he had to bear the loss of the fickle girl as best he might.

British Dictionary definitions for fickle


changeable in purpose, affections, etc; capricious
Derived Forms
fickleness, noun
Word Origin
Old English ficol deceitful; related to fician to wheedle, befician to deceive
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 fickle

c.1200, probably from Old English ficol "deceitful, cunning, tricky," related to befician "deceive," and to facen "deceit, treachery." Common Germanic (cf. Old Saxon fekan "deceit," Old High German feihhan "deceit, fraud, treachery"), from PIE *peig- "evil-minded, treacherous, hostile" (cf. Latin piget "it irks, troubles, displeases," piger "reluctant, lazy"). Sense of "changeable" is first recorded late 13c. Related: Fickleness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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