sudden, unpredictable change as of one's mind
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Capricious means impulsive and unpredictable; determined by chance, impulse, or whim. Capricious can describe both a person and the decisions they make. Capriciously is a derived term, while the related term is caprice. Its synonyms are whimsical and arbitrary.
- Someday beneath some hard
Capricious star —
Spreading its light a little
We'll know you for the woman
That you are.
- Djuna Barnes from “Fifth Avenue Up” in: Brian Reed Hart Crane: After His Lights, University of Alabama Press, 28 April 2006, p. 48.
- Einstein argued that there must be simplified explanations of nature, because God is not capricious or arbitrary. No such faith comforts the software engineer.
- Fred Brooks in: Rebecca Slayton Arguments that Count: Physics, Computing, and Missile Defense, 1949-2012, MIT Press, 16 August 2013, p. 191.
- In short, fate’s distribution of long straws is wildly capricious. The reaction of my family and me to our extraordinary good fortune is not guilt but gratitude. Don't have a problem with guilt about money. Were we to use more than 1 percent of my claim checks on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our wellbeing would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99 percent can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others. That reality sets an obvious course for me and my family: Keep all we can conceivably need, and distribute the rest to society, for its needs.
- Warren Buffet in: Business News Publishing Summary : Win - Dr. Frank Luntz: The Key Principles To Take Your Business From Ordinary to Extraordinary, Primento, 12 November 2014, p. 25.
- Fortuna imperatrix mundi:
Sors immanis et inanis,
rota tu volubilis,
status malus, vana salus
obumbratam et velatam
michi quoque niteris;
nunc per ludum dorsum nudum
ero tui sceleris.
- English translation: Lady Luck Empress of the World
Fate, as vicious as capricious,
you're a wheel whirling around:
evil doings, worthless wooings,
crumble away to the ground:
darkly stealing, unrevealing,
working against me you go:
for your measure of foul pleasure<br bare-backed I bow to your blow.
- Carmina Burana in: Part 1: Wheel of Fortune, translation by David Parlett.
- So, ere the storm of war broke out,
Religion spawn'd a various rout'l'.
Of petulant capricious sects,
The maggots of corrupted texts,
That first run all religion down,
And after ev'ry swarm its own:
For as the Persian Magi once
Upon their mothers got their sons,
That were incapable to enjoy.
- Samuel Butler, Treadway Russell Nash in: Hudibras ... With notes and a literary memoir by ... Treadway Russel Nash, etc. [With portraits.], D. Appleton, 1850, p. 368.
- I do not understand the capricious lewdness of the sleeping mind.
- John Cheever in: David Olsen, Michelle Bevilacqua Roget's Thesaurus of Words for Intellectuals, Adams Media, 15 October 2011, p. 67.
- Finally, we should note the basic metaphysical assumption of the classical laboratory — namely, that nature is neither capricious nor secretive. If nature were capricious, she would tell one observer one thing and another observer a quite different thing.
- Charles West Churchman in: The systems approach and its enemies, Basic Books, 25 May 1979, p. 57.
- The Queen was very popular, and in her progresses, or journeys about her dominions, was everywhere received with the liveliest joy. I think the truth is, that she was not half so good as she has been made out, and not half so bad as she has been made out. She had her fine qualities, but she was coarse, capricious, and treacherous, and had all the faults of an excessively vain young woman long after she was an old one.
- Charles Dickens in: A Child's History of England, Classic Books Company, p. 358.
- Fie upon thee, November! thou dost ape
The airs of thy young sisters, * * * thou hast stolen
The witching smile of May to grace thy lip,
And April's rare capricious loveliness
Thou'rt trying to put on!
- Julia C. R. Dorr in: Charles Wells Moulton The Magazine of Poetry and Literary Review, Volume 3, C.W. Moulton, 1891, p. 21.
- Any test that turns on what is offensive to the community's standards is too loose, too capricious, too destructive of freedom of expression to be squared with the First Amendment. Under that test, juries can censor, suppress, and punish what they don’t like, provided the matter relates to "sexual impurity" or has a tendency "to excite lustful thoughts". This is community censorship in one of its worst forms. It creates a regime where in the battle between the literati and the Philistines, the Philistines are certain to win.
- William O. Douglas in: Freedom of Expression in the Supreme Court: The Defining Cases, Rowman & Littlefield, 01-Jan-2000
- Justice Douglas dissenting in case Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476, 512 (1957).
- Mankind have been slow to believe that order reigns in the universe — that the world is a cosmos and a chaos. The assertion of the reign of law has been stubbornly resisted at every step. The divinities of heathen superstition still linger in one form or another in the faith of the ignorant, and even intelligent men shrink from the contemplation of one supreme will acting regularly, not fortuitously, through laws beautiful and simple rather than through a fitful and capricious system of intervention.
- James A. Garfield's speech (16 Dec 1867) given while a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, introducing resolution for the appointment of a committee to examine the necessities for legislation upon the subject of the ninth census to be taken the following year. Quoted in: John Clark Ridpath The Life and Work of James A. Garfield, Jones brothers, 1881, p. 216
- Lord Byron makes man after his own image, woman after his own heart; the one is a capricious tyrant, the other a yielding slave.
- William Hazlitt on "Lord Byron," in “The Spirit of the Age (1825) in: The Spirit of the Age Or Contemporary Portraits, Colburn, 1825, p. 154
- If we are more catholic in our notions, and want variety of excellence and beauty, it is spread abroad for us to profusion in the variety of books and in the several growth of men's minds, fettered by no capricious or arbitrary rules.
- William Hazlitt in: Table Talk: Or, Original Essays on Men and Manners, Volume 2, Henry Colburn, 1824, p. 138.
- Fate was not kind, life was capricious and terrible, and there was no good or reason in nature. But there is good and reason in us, in human beings, with whom fortune plays, and we can be stronger than nature and fate, if only for a few hours.
- Hermann Hesse in: Gertrude: A Novel, Macmillan, 21 December 2012, p. 174
- His [Jesus'] object was the reformation of some articles in the religion of the Jews, as taught by Moses. That sect had presented for the object of their worship, a being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust.
- Thomas Jefferson in: Memoir, correspondence, and miscellanies from the papers of T. Jefferson, Volumes 3-4 , F. Carr & Co., 1829, p.326
- Thomas Jefferson's, Letter to William Short, August 4, 1820, on his reason for compiling the Syllabus of an Estimate of the Merit of the Doctrines of Jesus.
- Jack Stillwell had been through his share of northers on the prairie, but nothing had prepared him for the vicious rage of that capricious winter storm that roared down on the southern plains in the early winter of 1873.
- Terry C. Johnston in: Shadow Riders: The Southern Plains Uprising, 1873, Macmillan, 30 July 2013, p. 324.
- Is it distinguished from the other good things, then, by being the highest but otherwise of the same kind as they are — transient and capricious, bestowed only upon the chosen few, rarely for the whole of life? If this were so, then it certainly would be inexplicable that in these sacred places. It is always faith and faith alone that is spoken of, that it is eulogized and celebrated again and again..
- Søren Kierkegaard in: Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, Princeton University Press, 1992, p. 10.
- Elak got up and recovered his rapier, loudly thanking Ishtar for his deliverance. "For," he thought, "a little politeness costs nothing, and even though my own skill and not Ishtar's hand saved me, one never knows." Too, there were other dangers to face, and if the gods are capricious, the goddesses are certainly even more so.
- Henry Kuttner in: H.P. Lovecraft, et al, The Cthulhu Mythos Megapack: 40 Modern and Classic Lovecraftian Stories, Wildside Press LLC, 17 April 2012, p. 1004.
- Stalin is too rude and this defect, although quite tolerable in our midst and in dealing among us Communists, becomes intolerable in a Secretary-General. That is why I suggest the comrades think about a way of removing Stalin from that post and appointing another man in his stead who in all other respects differs from Comrade Stalin in having only one advantage, namely, that of being more tolerant, more loyal, more polite, and more considerate to the comrades, less capricious, etc.
- Lenin in: Letter to the Congress, marxists.org.
- She is sweet, sensitive and sympathetic, childish, womanly already, idealistic, quick-tempered, warm-hearted, headstrong, capricious and in every way enchanting. Tolstoy created many women, and they are wonderfully real, but never another who wins the affection of the reader as does as does Natasha.
- W. Somerset Maugham quoting from Leo Tolstoy's “War and Peace” Books and Bookmen, Volume 8, Hansom Books, 1962, p. 49.
- Their tawny features, all begrimed with smoke and sweat, their matted beards, and the contrasting barbaric brilliancy of their teeth, all these were strangely revealed in the capricious emblazonings of the works.
- Herman Melville in: Michael J. Davey Herman Melville's Moby-Dick: A Routledge Study Guide and Sourcebook, Routledge, 19 November 2013, p. 163.
- What was it that made this human love so much more desirable to me than the love of my own kind? Was it because it was exclusive and capricious? The souls offered love and acceptance to all. Did I crave a greater challenge?
- Stephenie Meyer in: The Host, Hachette UK, 26 February 2009, p. 387.
- No doubt he is horrible, he is abject, he is a shining example of moral leprosy, a mixture of ferocity and jocularity that betrays supreme misery perhaps, but is not conducive to attractiveness. He is ponderously capricious. Many of his casual opinions on the people and scenery of this country are ludicrous. A desperate honesty that throbs through his confession does not absolve him from sins of diabolical cunning.
- John Ray in Foreword to Lolita quoted by Elizabeth Dipple in: Jane Campbell, James Doyle The Practical Vision: Essays in English Literature in Honour of Flora Roy, Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 4 July 1978, p. 103.
- Sometimes gentle, sometimes capricious, sometimes awful, never the same for two moments together; almost human in its passions, almost spiritual in its tenderness, almost Divine in its infinity, its appeal is what is immortal in us, is as distinct, as its ministry of chastisement or of blessing to what is mortal is essential.
- John Ruskin in: Charles Walton Sanders Sanders' Rhetorical, Or, Union Fifth Reader, Ivison, Phinney, Blakeman, 1866, p. 48.
- The mere abolition of rent would not remove injustice, since it would confer a capricious advantage upon the occupiers of the best sites and the most fertile land. It is necessary that there should be rent, but it should be paid to the state or to some body which performs public services; or, if the total rental were more than is required for such purposes, it might be paid into a common fund and divided equally among the population.
- Bertrand Russell in: The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell, 1903-1959, Psychology Press, 1992, p. 492.
- In this capricious world nothing is more capricious than posthumous fame. One of the most notable victims of posterity's lack of judgement is the Eleatic Zeno. Having invented four arguments all immeasurably subtle and profound, the grossness of subsequent philosophers pronounced him to be a mere ingenious juggler, and his arguments to be one and all sophisms. After two thousand years of continual refutation, these sophisms were reinstated, and made the foundation of a mathematical renaissance, by a German professor, who probably never dreamed of any connexion between himself and Zeno. Weierstrass, by strictly banishing all infinitesimals, has at last shown that we live in an unchanging world, and that the arrow at every moment of its flight is truly at rest.
- Bertrand Russell in: T. L. Heath in A History of Greek Mathematics, Volume 1, Cambridge University Press, 21 November 2013, p. 273.
- The historical order is very interesting, but accidental and capricious; if we would understand the growth of knowledge, we cannot be satisfied with accidents, we must explain how knowledge was gradually built up.
- George Sarton in: Ancient Science Through the Golden Age of Greece, Courier Corporation, 16 October 2012, p. 11.
- ...having become established as a psychiatrist, I became increasingly impressed by the vague, capricious, and generally unsatisfactory character of the widely used concept of mental illness and its w:Corollariescorollaries, [[diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.
- Thomas S. Szasz in: The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct, Aware Journalism, p. 13.
- Aside from the wisdom of going to [[war as Bush wants, I am troubled by who pays for his capricious adventure into world domination. The administration admits to a cost of around $200 billion! Now, wealthy individuals won't pay. They've got big tax cuts already. Corporations won't pay. They'll cook the books and move overseas and then send their contributions to the Republicans. Rich kids won't pay. Their daddies will get them deferments as Big George did for George W. Well then, who will pay? School kids will pay. There'll be no money to keep them from being left behind -- way behind. Seniors will pay. They'll pay big time as the Republicans privatize Social Security and rob the Trust Fund to pay for the capricious war. Medicare will be curtailed and drugs will be more unaffordable. And there won't be any money for a drug benefit because Bush will spend it all on the war. Working folks will pay through loss of job security and bargaining rights. Our grandchildren will pay through the degradation of our air| and water quality. And the entire nation will pay as Bush continues to destroy civil rights, women's rights and religious freedom in a rush to phony patriotism and to courting the messianic Pharisees of the religious right.
- Pete Stark in: Pete Stark's Iraq Speech, 2002,Wikisource.
- Statement on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, October 8, 2002, in opposition to the resolution authorizing military force against Iraq.
- As love without esteem, is volatile and capricious; esteem without love, is languid and cold. I am afraid, that many me'n, whose wives have possessed their esteem, have yet lavished their fortune and their fondness upon a mistress; and that the love of others, however ardent, has been quickly alienated, because it was not dignified and supported by esteem.
- Jonathan Swift in: Lionel Thomas Berguer The Adventurer, T. and J. Allman, 1823, p. 220.
- A woman is always fickle and changeable thing. Thus a woman is always a changeable and capricious thing.
- Vergil in: Soma's Dictionary of Latin Quotations, Maxims and Phrases, Trafford Publishing, 2010, p. 610.