[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

Related Words for capriciously

carelessly, unevenly, capriciously, eccentrically

Examples from the Web for capriciously

Contemporary Examples of capriciously

  • And largely unknown groups must never be capriciously favored, however much they might look like the enemy's enemy.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Sixty Years of Meddling and Bad Blood

    Alex Von Tunzelmann

    December 4, 2008

Historical Examples of capriciously

  • It was her duty to see to it that she did not use it capriciously, for her own gratification.

  • "I have told you of one fault, now hear another," says she capriciously.

    April's Lady

    Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

  • He was as capriciously selected as he was capriciously ejected by his friends.

  • He is hurt and angry that one of us could be so capriciously unjust to him.

    The Wyndam Girls

    Marion Ames Taggart

  • She appeared to him to be pining "capriciously" when she became thin and neurotic.

    Married Love

    Marie Carmichael Stopes

British Dictionary definitions for capriciously



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 capriciously



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper