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mercurial

[mer-kyoo r-ee-uh l] /mərˈkyʊər i əl/
adjective
1.
changeable; volatile; fickle; flighty; erratic:
a mercurial nature.
2.
animated; lively; sprightly; quick-witted.
3.
pertaining to, containing, or caused by the metal mercury.
4.
(initial capital letter) of or pertaining to the god Mercury.
5.
(initial capital letter) of or pertaining to the planet Mercury.
noun
6.
Pharmacology. a preparation of mercury used as a drug.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin mercuriālis of, pertaining to the god or planet Mercury. See mercury, -al1
Related forms
mercurially, adverb
mercurialness, mercuriality, noun
unmercurial, adjective
unmercurially, adverb
unmercurialness, noun
Synonyms
1. inconstant, indecisive. 2. spirited.
Antonyms
1. constant, steady. 2. phlegmatic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for mercurial
  • She's very mercurial and emotes before thinking, while I'm the opposite.
  • Easier, given my mercurial personality, just to leave the door shut.
  • He is paranoid, capricious and mercurial.
  • All this is only to say that show business is moody and mercurial and hard to judge by absolute standards.
  • While she can be mercurial, he is grounding.
  • For one thing, fashions in men's formals are not exactly mercurial.
  • The violence here is mercurial and episodic.
  • It is the key to survival in the mercurial world of pop.
  • Both were prickly figures, mercurial and wildly creative yet woefully uneven.
  • Together, the steady dandelions and the mercurial orchids offer an adaptive flexibility that neither can provide alone.
British Dictionary definitions for mercurial

mercurial

/mɜːˈkjʊərɪəl/
adjective
1.
of, like, containing, or relating to mercury
2.
volatile; lively a mercurial temperament
3.
(sometimes capital) of, like, or relating to the god or the planet Mercury
noun
4.
(med) any salt of mercury for use as a medicine
Derived Forms
mercurially, adverb
mercurialness, mercuriality, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin mercuriālis
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mercurial
mercurial
late 14c., "pertaining to the planet Mercury" (see Mercury). Meaning "sprightly, volatile, quick" (1590s) is from supposed qualities of those born under the planet Mercury, probably partially by association with quicksilver.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mercurial in Medicine

mercurial mer·cu·ri·al (mər-kyur'ē-əl)
adj.
Containing or caused by the action of the element mercury. n.
A pharmacological or chemical preparation containing mercury.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Word Value for mercurial

13
17
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