[vi-sis-i-tood, -tyood]
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  1. a change or variation occurring in the course of something.
  2. interchange or alternation, as of states or things.
  3. vicissitudes, successive, alternating, or changing phases or conditions, as of life or fortune; ups and downs: They remained friends through the vicissitudes of 40 years.
  4. regular change or succession of one state or thing to another.
  5. change; mutation; mutability.

Origin of vicissitude

1560–70; < Latin vicissitūdō, equivalent to viciss(im) in turn (perhaps by syncope < *vice-cessim; vice in the place of (see vice3) + cessim giving way, adv. derivative of cēdere to go, proceed) + -i- -i- -tūdō -tude
Related formsvi·cis·si·tu·di·nous, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for vicissitudes


  1. variation or mutability in nature or life, esp successive alternation from one condition or thing to another
  2. a variation in circumstance, fortune, character, etc
Derived Formsvicissitudinary or vicissitudinous, adjective

Word Origin for vicissitude

C16: from Latin vicissitūdō, from vicis change, alternation
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 vicissitudes



1560s, from Middle French vicissitude (14c.), from Latin vicissitudinem (nominative vicissitudo) "change," from vicissim "changeably, in turn," from vicis "a turn, change" (see vicarious). Related: Vicissitudes.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper