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Word of the Day
Friday, February 18, 2000

Definitions for vicissitude

  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.

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Citations for vicissitude
I can see yet his patient, kindly face and that steady eye which no vicissitude of fortune could perturb. John Buchan, Mr. Standfast, 1919
Certainly [no village] has experienced so many vicissitudes, for from the beginning of May, 1861, when the rebels seized upon the place as a base of offensive operations against Maryland and Pennsylvania, up to the present time, when it rests securely under National control, it has changed hands with the changes of the seasons. , "Harper's Ferry in 1862," New York Times, August 18, 1862
Origin of vicissitude
Vicissitude derives from the Latin vicis meaning "turn, change." It entered English in the mid-1500s.