apt or liable to vary or change; changeable: variable weather; variable moods.
capable of being varied or changed; alterable: a variable time limit for completion of a book.
inconstant; fickle: a variable lover.
having much variation or diversity.
Biology. deviating from the usual type, as a species or a specific character.
Astronomy. (of a star) changing in brightness.
Meteorology. (of wind) tending to change in direction.
Mathematics. having the nature or characteristics of a variable.
something that may or does vary; a variable feature or factor.
Mathematics, Computers.
a quantity or function that may assume any given value or set of values.
a symbol that represents this.
Logic. (in the functional calculus) a symbol for an unspecified member of a class of things or statements. Compare bound variable, free variable.
Astronomy, variable star.
a shifting wind, especially as distinguished from a trade wind.
variables, doldrums ( def 2a ).

1350–1400; late Middle English < Latin variābilis, equivalent to vari(us) various + -ābilis -able

variability, variableness, noun
variably, adverb
hypervariability, noun
hypervariable, adjective
hypervariably, adverb
nonvariability, noun
nonvariable, adjective
nonvariableness, noun
nonvariably, adverb
unvariable, adjective
unvariableness, noun
unvariably, adverb

1. boundary, limit, parameter, variable (see synonym study at boundary)(see usage note at parameter) ; 2. variable, variant.

3. vacillating, wavering, fluctuating, unsteady, mercurial.

1, 3. constant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
variable (ˈvɛərɪəbəl)
1.  liable to or capable of change: variable weather
2.  (of behaviour, opinions, emotions, etc) lacking constancy; fickle
3.  maths having a range of possible values
4.  (of a species, characteristic, etc) liable to deviate from the established type
5.  (of a wind) varying its direction and intensity
6.  (of an electrical component or device) designed so that a characteristic property, such as resistance, can be varied: variable capacitor
7.  something that is subject to variation
8.  maths
 a.  an expression that can be assigned any of a set of values
 b.  dependent variable See also independent variable a symbol, esp x, y, or z, representing an unspecified member of a class of objects, numbers, etc
9.  logic a symbol, esp x, y, z, representing any member of a class of entities
10.  computing a named unit of storage that can be changed to any of a set of specified values during execution of a program
11.  astronomy See variable star
12.  a variable wind
13.  (plural) a region where variable winds occur
[C14: from Latin variābilis changeable, from variāre to diversify]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., of persons, from O.Fr. variable, from L. variabilis "changeable," from variare "to change" (see vary). Of weather, seasons, etc., attested from late 15c.; of stars, from 1788. The noun meaning "quantity that can vary in value" first recorded 1816, from the adj.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

variable var·i·a·ble (vâr'ē-ə-bəl, vār'-)

  1. Likely to change or vary; subject to variation; changeable.

  2. Tending to deviate, as from a normal or recognized type; aberrant.

  3. Having no fixed quantitative value.

  1. Something that varies or that is prone to variation.

  2. A quantity that is capable of assuming any of a set of values.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
variable   (vâr'ē-ə-bəl)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A mathematical quantity capable of assuming any of a set of values, such as x in the expression 3x + 2.

  2. A factor or condition that is subject to change, especially one that is allowed to change in a scientific experiment to test a hypothesis. See more at control.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
In the future, experts say, models need to be opened up to accommodate more
  variables and more dimensions of uncertainty.
We can't rely on readily available information to make this conclusion, less so
  when the two variables are not closely connected.
When modeling climate, scientists must account for a large number of variables.
There were no technical graphs of data points or tables of measured variables.
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