mercurial

[mer-kyoor-ee-uhl]
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; Middle English < Latin mercuriālis of, pertaining to the god or planet Mercury. See mercury, -al1

mercurially, adverb
mercurialness, mercuriality, noun
unmercurial, adjective
unmercurially, adverb
unmercurialness, noun


1. inconstant, indecisive. 2. spirited.


1. constant, steady. 2. phlegmatic.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
mercurial (mɜːˈkjʊərɪəl)
 
adj
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
 
n
4.  med any salt of mercury for use as a medicine
 
[C14: from Latin mercuriālis]
 
mer'curially
 
adv
 
mer'curialness
 
n
 
mercuri'ality
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

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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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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Example sentences
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.
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