The Meaning of Fickle: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of fickle? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word fickle, including its definition, usage, word origin, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word fickle mean?

According to the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as Collins English Dictionary, the word fickle is an adjective that means frequently changing, having an instability or caprice, erratic changeableness, or mercurial affections. Things that are fickle might have an unpredictable changeability as an innate disposition. Something that is fickle might do a sudden unpredictable change as opposed to a sustained course of action. Fickle is two syllables – fick-le, and the pronunciation of fickle is fɪkəl. The suffixes ness and ly can be added tot eh end of fickle to form the word forms fickleness (n.) and fickly (adv.)

Many things can be fickle, including fickle winds, fickle finger of fate, a fickle changeable mind, fortune’s fickle wheen, a fickle lot, fickle political power, fickle political morality, fickle weather that changes on a sudden whim, a fickle lack of stability, fickle friends, an inconstant lover, a fickle affair, a fickle foe, fickle one-time events, a fickle platform that struggles to give developers access to the API, a fickle capricious administration, fickle seasons, a fickle mentality, a fickle wi-fi router, a short attention span or erratic behavior, mercurial twists of temperament, the fickle unforgiving public in need of new experiences, fickle teenagers who change what movies they like or switch brands from day to day, the leman winds, and more. The word fickle can be used as personification.

Many different languages also contain words that mean fickle. You may notice that many of these words look and sound alike. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases in different languages that mean the same thing and look similar. These are often formed when words have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations of fickle is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Swedish: ombytliga‎, nyckfull‎
  •  Finnish: ailahteleva‎, huikenteleva‎, häilyvä‎, vaihteleva‎
  •  Japanese: 気が多い‎ (きがおおい, ki ga ōi), 気まぐれ‎
  •  Spanish: inconstante‎, voluble‎, pendular‎
  •  Romanian: capricios‎, schimbător‎, inconstant‎
  •  Italian: volubile‎, incostante‎, mutevole‎, capriccioso‎
  •  Occitan: inconstant‎, lunard‎, lunatenc‎, cambiadís‎, lunatic‎, viradís‎, capriciós‎
  •  Russian: непостоя́нный‎, переме́нчивый‎
  •  Tagalog: balimbing‎
  •  Persian: دمدمی مزاج‎ (damdami-mezâj)
  •  Icelandic: hverflyndur‎, óstöðugur‎
  •  Danish: lunefuld‎, vankelmodig‎, vægelsindet‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: leam-leat‎
  •  Dutch: wispelturig‎, onbetrouwbaar‎, onbestendig‎, grillig‎, onberekenbaar‎
  •  German: unbeständig‎, wankelmütig‎, wechselhaft‎, flatterhaft‎, launisch‎, unstet‎
  •  Bulgarian: непостоя́нен‎, проме́нлив‎, отмятащ се‎
  •  French: inconstant‎, volage‎, lunatique‎
  •  Mandarin: 多變‎, 多变‎ (duōbiàn), 薄情‎ (bóqíng) (in love)
  •  Armenian: հեղհեղուկ‎
  •  Portuguese: volúvel‎, caprichoso‎, volátil‎
  •  Korean: 변덕스러운‎
  •  Catalan: inconstant‎
  •  Roman: prevrtljiv‎, nepostojan‎, prevrtljiv‎, mušičav‎, hirovit‎
  •  Esperanto: nefidinda‎

How can the word fickle be used in a sentence?

The word fickle can be used in many different settings. Using words in a sentence is the best way to remember their definition. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are many examples of fickle. 

The creature of habit who loved making old wooden carvings did not understand the fickle public opinion, always changing. 

The fickle Princeton University students did not attend the rock music concert. 

The prairie dogs at the zoo were fickle about their enclosure. They did not like the simplest setup, and also hated anything too complicated.

What is the etymology of the word fickle?

According to Etymonline, the word fickle has been used since the early c13 Middle English fikil, Middle English fikel, and Middle English fikelen. This comes from the Old English ficol, fike and befician, as well as the word facen meaning deceit, treachery, blemish, or fault. This is of Proto-Germanic and common Germanic origins in the northern dialects, and is a cognate for the Old Saxon fekan, German fikkelen/German ficklen/ficheln, and Old High German feihhan. Fikel-tonge (late 14c.) has also been used as an allegorical or character name for one who speaks falsehoods. It is frequently used in poetry and humor, and originally also had a verb form.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word fickle?

There are many different words that have the same meaning as the word fickle. These are called synonyms. Synonyms are a great way to expand your vocabulary and avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word fickle is provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  changing
  •  false
  •  short-lived
  •  unsure
  •  ephemeral
  •  fluid
  •  fly by night
  •  indecisive
  •  perfidious
  •  ticklish
  •  treacherous
  •  cheating
  •  ever-changing
  •  flickering
  •  flickery
  •  not true to
  •  of bad faith
  •  restless
  •  transient
  •  transitory
  •  adulterous
  •  flitting
  •  vacillant
  •  yo-yo
  •  blowing hot and cold
  •  deceitful
  •  incalculable
  •  momentary
  •  on-the-fence
  •  philandering
  •  recreant
  •  supererogative
  •  trustless
  •  two-faced
  •  unassured
  •  unfixed
  •  alterable
  •  arbitrary
  •  dubious
  •  evanescent
  •  non-permanent
  •  precarious
  •  scatterbrained
  •  shifty
  •  slippery
  •  undecided
  •  uneven
  •  unsteadfast
  •  ambivalent
  •  careless

There are also many different words that have the opposite meaning of the word fickle. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are another great way to expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms is also provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  unwavering
  •  changeless
  •  devout
  •  steadfast
  •  chronological
  •  fast
  •  stationary
  •  immutable
  •  unchanging
  •  firmly established
  •  devoted
  •  faithful
  •  persistent
  •  unvarying
  •  dedicated
  •  responsible
  •  good
  •  trustworthy
  •  sustainable
  •  trustable
  •  abiding
  •  accountable
  •  cognizant
  •  predictable
  •  invariable
  •  stoic
  •  tried
  •  unchangeable
  •  true
  •  constant
  •  tried-and-true
  •  resolute
  •  certain
  •  confirmed
  •  steady
  •  staunch
  •  reliable
  •  dependable
  •  all wool and a yard wide
  •   adamant
  •  muck or nettles
  •  very strong
  •  long-lasting
  •  fervent
  •  intent
  •  enduring
  •  active
  •  uniform
  •  permanent
  •  dutiful
  •  firm
  •  consternation
  •  fervid
  •  same
  •  durable
  •  well-established
  •  like clockwork
  •  persevering
  •  go-to
  •  adventurous
  •  patient
  •  dyed-in-the-wool
  •  alarm
  •  passionate
  •  secure
  •  impassioned
  •  even
  •  ensured
  •  aggressive
  •  on an even keel
  •  well established
  •  inevitable
  •  written in stone
  •  not if but when
  •  unevitable
  •  stated
  •  dogged
  •  as good as your word
  •  sworn
  •  equable
  •  inveterate
  •  solid
  •  unhesitating
  •  enthusiastic
  •  ride or die
  •  agitation
  •  fixed
  •  copper-bottomed
  •  settled
  •  static
  •  down-the-line
  •  ardent
  •  unfaltering
  •  sure
  •  trusty
  •  lasting
  •  loyal
  •  determined
  •  stable
  •  aware

Overall, the word fickle means frequently changing or mercurial. This word is Germanic in origin.


  1. fickle: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. Fickle synonyms – 1 056 Words and Phrases for Fickle | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Fickle antonyms – 552 Opposites of Fickle | Power Thesaurus 
  4. fickle | Origin and meaning of fickle | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Fickle definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary