Word of the Day Archive
Sunday August 21, 2005
vicissitude \vih-SIS-ih-tood; -tyood\
1. Regular change or succession from one thing to another; alternation; mutual succession; interchange.
2. Irregular change; revolution; mutation.
3. A change in condition or fortune; an instance of mutability in life or nature (especially successive alternation from one condition to another).
This man had, after many vicissitudes of fortune, sunk at last into abject and hopeless poverty.
-- Thomas Macaulay
Max had rescued his father's gold watch through every vicissitude, but as it didn't go I took it to a watchmaker.
-- Edith Anderson, Love in Exile: An American Writer's Memoir of Life in Divided Berlin
It has come about that this writer, who at the beginning might have appeared in unique occupation of a marginal and peripheral world, is instead writing from the center of a historical vicissitude, utterly contemporary.
-- Elizabeth Hardwic, "Meeting V. S. Naipaul"
Vicissitude comes from Latin vicissitudo, from vicissim, in turn, probably from vices, changes.