[kuh-prish-uhs, -pree-shuhs]
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  1. 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.
  2. 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

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Antonyms for capricious Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for capriciousness

Contemporary Examples of capriciousness

Historical Examples of capriciousness

  • The capriciousness of love is also derived by him from an attachment to some god in a former world.

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for capriciousness


  1. 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 capriciousness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper