[kuh-prish-uhs, -pree-shuhs]


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 formsca·pri·cious·ly, adverbca·pri·cious·ness, nounnon·ca·pri·cious, adjectivenon·ca·pri·cious·ly, adverbnon·ca·pri·cious·ness, nounun·ca·pri·cious, adjectiveun·ca·pri·cious·ly, adverbun·ca·pri·cious·ness, noun

Synonyms for capricious

Antonyms for capricious Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for capricious

Contemporary Examples of capricious

Historical Examples of capricious

  • All is still on a colossal scale, but playful, capricious, phantasmagoric.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • How noisy and romping the brook was; how capricious, how playful, how furtive!

  • Art is not dignified by being called whimsical--or capricious.

    Albert Durer

    T. Sturge Moore

  • Your duty to your capricious brother, not to your father, you mean, Madam.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • The rouge-et-noir player imagines that chance is not capricious.

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

British Dictionary definitions for capricious



characterized by or liable to sudden unpredictable changes in attitude or behaviour; impulsive; fickle
Derived Formscapriciously, adverbcapriciousness, 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

Word Origin and History for capricious

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper