Impulsive, unpredictable, or subject to sudden changes of mood or decision


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



fickle, whimsical, erratic, changeable, volatile, moody


consistent, reliable, steady, dependable, constant, predictable

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun capriciousness, caprice, capriciousnesses, caprices
Verb None
Adjective capricious
Adverb capriciously

Example Sentences

  • The capricious weather turned sunny skies into a torrential downpour within a matter of minutes.

  • Her capricious decision-making made it difficult for her team to anticipate her next move.

  • The capricious nature of the stock market left investors bewildered and uncertain about their financial future.

  • The capricious cat would alternate between playful affection and sudden moments of biting and scratching.


The word “capricious” has its roots in the Latin term “capriciosus,” which means “subject to whim” or “impulsive.” It describes individuals or things that exhibit unpredictable or sudden changes in behavior or decision-making. “Capricious” is an adjective used to convey a sense of unpredictability, volatility, or whimsicality.

The root of “capricious” lies in the Latin word “capra,” meaning “goat.” This may seem unrelated, but it is believed that goats were seen as unpredictable creatures with ever-changing behavior, lending their name to this concept of unpredictability and changeability.

The usage of “capricious” pertains to actions, choices, or behavior that lack a consistent pattern or rationality. It implies a tendency to make decisions based on momentary desires or passing fancies rather than logical reasoning. “Capricious” often conveys a sense of inconsistency, fickleness, or even arbitrariness.

The term can be used to describe various aspects of life, including weather patterns, artistic preferences, or even personal relationships. It serves as a reminder that not everything can be predicted or understood, and that factors beyond our control can influence outcomes.

Variations of the word “capricious” include the noun form “caprice,” which denotes a sudden change of mind or behavior, and the adverb form “capriciously,” describing actions or behaviors that are characteristic of capriciousness.

Understanding the history and usage of “capricious” underscores the importance of adaptability and flexibility in a world that is inherently uncertain. It encourages us to approach situations with an open mind and be prepared for unexpected shifts or changes, recognizing the influence of whims and unpredictable factors in shaping our lives.