Definition of caprice in English:

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Pronunciation: /kəˈpriːs/


1A sudden and unaccountable change of mood or behaviour: her caprices made his life impossible [mass noun]: a land where men were ruled by law and not by caprice
More example sentences
  • Her narrative follows a loopy line traced more by mood and caprice than by causation or chronology.
  • Essentially, what has happened to O'Neill is no more than life, with all its vagaries and caprices.
  • Dip in, and let yourself be governed by mood and caprice.
whim, whimsy, vagary, fancy, notion, fad, freak, humour, impulse, quirk, eccentricity, foible, crotchet, urge
fickleness, changeableness, volatility, inconstancy, capriciousness, fitfulness, unpredictability
2 Music another term for capriccio. the caprice was divided into a theme and eleven variations
More example sentences
  • Dubost had herself conceived the ballet as a musical caprice and had given the ten leaves of her fan to ten different composers asking each of them to compose a single dance number.
  • Studies for solo violin include Paganini's brilliant 24 caprices, which provided a fertile source of inspiration for other composers.
  • I was feeling the exhaustion keenly - but not enough to make a complete ass of myself during choir, which inched by like a violist playing Paganini caprices.


Mid 17th century: from French, from Italian (see capriccio).

  • A caprice and hedgehogs seem far apart but if you put the Italian words capo ‘head’ and riccio ‘hedgehog’ together you get the word capriccio, or ‘hedgehog-head’—a head with the hair standing on end, like a hedgehog's spines. This is what can happen if you are terrified by something, so capriccio, the source of English caprice, came to mean ‘horror or shuddering’. Over time this eventually became ‘a sudden start, a sudden change’, perhaps influenced by Italian caper. Compare horror

Words that rhyme with caprice

anis, apiece, Berenice, cassis, cease, coulisse, crease, Dumfries, fils, fleece, geese, grease, Greece, kris, lease, Lucrece, MacNeice, Matisse, McAleese, Nice, niece, obese, peace, pelisse, police, Rees, Rhys, set piece, sublease, surcease, two-piece, underlease

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ca|price

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