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[vuh-gair-ee, vey-guh-ree] /vəˈgɛər i, ˈveɪ gə ri/
noun, plural vagaries.
an unpredictable or erratic action, occurrence, course, or instance:
the vagaries of weather; the vagaries of the economic scene.
a whimsical, wild, or unusual idea, desire, or action.
Origin of vagary
1565-75, in sense “wandering journey”; apparently < Latin vagārī to wander
2. caprice, whim, quirk, crotchet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for vagaries
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Luttrell said, I have known Rogers for sixty years, and have never yet been able to account for any one of his vagaries.

    The Story of My Life, volumes 4-6 Augustus J. C. Hare
  • Its vagaries must be experienced and studied by any investigator of the atrocities of war.

  • Thus the Daisy Cutter and his vagaries became a proverb in Birmingham.

    Geoffery Gambado William Henry Bunbury
  • Paul smiled as a mother might smile at the vagaries of a beloved child.

  • She had as many moods as an April day; and would have much surprised Dr. Alec by her vagaries, had he known them all.

    Rose in Bloom Louisa May Alcott
  • Who does not know the symbolism of the cathedrals, and the vagaries to which it has given rise?

  • He may be accustomed to the vagaries of his friends and acquaintances under the influence of love.

  • I was content to lie on the bank of the creek, my mind idling with vagaries.

    A Virginia Scout Hugh Pendexter
British Dictionary definitions for vagaries


/ˈveɪɡərɪ; vəˈɡɛərɪ/
noun (pl) -garies
an erratic or outlandish notion or action; whim
Word Origin
C16: probably from Latin vagārī to roam; compare Latin vagusvague
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 vagaries



1570s, "a wandering, a roaming journey," probably from Latin vagari "to wander, roam, be unsettled, spread abroad," from vagus "roving, wandering" (see vague). Current meaning of "eccentric notion or conduct" (1620s) is from notion of mental wandering. Related: Vagaries.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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