[vuh-gair-ee, vey-guh-ree]

noun, plural va·gar·ies.

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

Synonyms for vagary Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vagaries

Contemporary Examples of vagaries

Historical Examples of vagaries

  • The power to hold in check the vagaries of imagination may be gone.

    The Great Hunger

    Johan Bojer

  • The vagaries of the mountain atmosphere rarely concerned him.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • It has no thought of time and it accepts all the vagaries of your laziness.

    Journeys to Bagdad

    Charles S. Brooks

  • Silvey smiled, as does an adult listening to the vagaries of a child.

    A Son of the City

    Herman Gastrell Seely

  • The vagaries of the human mind are beyond our understanding.

British Dictionary definitions for vagaries


noun plural -garies

an erratic or outlandish notion or action; whim

Word Origin for vagary

C16: probably from Latin vagārī to roam; compare Latin vagus vague
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 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