May 5th, 2019

words 6

Sunday Word: Vicissitudes

vicissitudes [vi-sis-i-toods, -tyoods]

1 Changes of circumstances or fortune, typically those that are unwelcome or unpleasant
2 Natural changes or mutations visible in nature or in human affairs
3 (Literary) alternations between opposite or contrasting things


The treatise is one of the great meditations on the meaning of life in all its vicissitudes. (Amanda Foreman, Literature Behind Bars)

Our server, clearly versed in the vicissitudes of dining with children, puts those orders in right away. (Kara Baskin, Quick Bite: At The Wellington in Belmont, a family-friendly night out )

If that is called imprudence, I wonder what would be called a thoughtful provision against the vicissitudes of fortune. (Ambrose Bierce, The Thoughtful Warden)


From singular vicissitude: 'a passing from one state to another,' whether regular or not, 1560s, from Middle French vicissitude (14c.), from Latin vicissitudinem (nominative vicissitudo) 'change, interchange, alternation,' from vicissim (adv.) 'changeably, on the other hand, by turns, in turn,' from vicis 'a turn, change' (from PIE root *weik- (2) 'to bend, to wind'). (Online Etymology Dictionary)