Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for June 6, 2020 is:
capricious • kuh-PRISH-us • adjective
“Like all great children’s writers, [Jacqueline] Wilson and [E.] Nesbit understood how strange and capricious children could be….” — Guy Lodge, Variety, 4 Apr. 2020
“[The television show] Succession doesn’t just get the details right; mirroring the capricious world of media and its greedy overlords, it also makes sweeping plot turns that build to climaxes as bloody as Macbeth.” — Laura Adamczyk, The A.V. Club, 11 Nov. 2019
Did you know?
The noun caprice, which first appeared in English in the mid-17th century, is a synonym of whim. Evidence shows that the adjective capricious debuted before caprice; both words are believed to derive, via French, from Italian capriccio, which originally referred not to a sudden desire but to a sudden shudder of fear. The origin of capriccio is uncertain, but the going theory has a certain charm. Capriccio is thought to perhaps be a compounding of Italian capo, meaning “head,” and riccio, meaning “hedgehog,” The image evoked in this “hedgehog head” mashup is of someone shuddering in fear to such a degree that their hair stands on end, like the spines of a hedgehog.