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See also: Fickle



  • IPA(key): /ˈfɪk.əl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪkəl

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English fikil, fikel, from Old English ficol (fickle, cunning, tricky, deceitful), equivalent to fike +‎ -le. More at fike.


fickle (comparative fickler or more fickle, superlative ficklest or most fickle)

  1. Quick to change one’s opinion or allegiance; insincere; not loyal or reliable.
    • c. 1591–1595 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Romeo and Ivliet”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene v], page 69:
      O Fortune, Fortune, all men call thee fickle, / If thou art fickle, what doſt thou with him / That is renown'd for faith? be fickle Fortune: / For then I hope thou wilt not keepe him long, / But ſend him backe.
    • 1850, [Alfred, Lord Tennyson], In Memoriam, London: Edward Moxon, [], →OCLC, Canto XXVI, page 43:
      Still onward winds the dreary way;
      ⁠I with it; for I long to prove
      ⁠No lapse of moons can canker Love,
      Whatever fickle tongues may say.
    • 2010, James Murphy (lyrics and music), “Home”, in This Is Happening, performed by LCD Soundsystem:
      As night has such a local ring / And love and rock are fickle things
  2. (figurative) Changeable.
    • 2014, Paul Salopek, Blessed. Cursed. Claimed., National Geographic (December 2014)[1]
      To the south, the vast geometrical deserts of Arabian nomads, a redoubt of feral movement, of fickle winds, of open space, of saddle leather—home to the wild Bedouin tribes.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English fikelen, from fikel (fickle); see above. Cognate with Low German fikkelen (to deceive, flatter), German ficklen, ficheln (to deceive, flatter).


fickle (third-person singular simple present fickles, present participle fickling, simple past and past participle fickled)

  1. (transitive) To deceive, flatter.
  2. (transitive, UK dialectal) To puzzle, perplex, nonplus.