9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kuh-prish-uh s, -pree-shuh s] /kəˈprɪʃ əs, -ˈpri ʃəs/
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.
Obsolete. fanciful or witty.
Origin of capricious
1585-95; < Italian capriccioso capriccioso
Related forms
capriciously, adverb
capriciousness, noun
noncapricious, adjective
noncapriciously, adverb
noncapriciousness, noun
uncapricious, adjective
uncapriciously, adverb
uncapriciousness, noun
1. variable, flighty, mercurial. See fickle.
1. steady, constant, consistent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for capriciously
  • Under your proposal, large thrifts can arbitrarily and capriciously respond to a few community needs instead of all needs.
  • He arrives incognito at the court of the queen, wins her favour by manly exploits, and then departs somewhat capriciously.
  • Usually finches that age sing capriciously, but after the injection, their songs became significantly less variable.
  • Such behavior is capriciously dismissed with the explanation that it is maladaptive, and therefore has simply failed to evolve.
  • As long as governments care about the burden of repayment on future taxpayers, they will not seek loans capriciously.
  • Sometimes monarchs capriciously granted indefinite exclusive rights to someone they favoured.
  • It means that there are labor laws that cannot be capriciously denied.
  • We reverse a legislative public-purpose declaration only if the legislature acted arbitrarily, unreasonably, or capriciously.
British Dictionary definitions for capriciously


characterized by or liable to sudden unpredictable changes in attitude or behaviour; impulsive; fickle
Derived Forms
capriciously, adverb
capriciousness, 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
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Word Origin and History for capriciously



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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