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[vur-suh-tl or, esp. British, -tahyl] /ˈvɜr sə tl or, esp. British, -ˌtaɪl/
capable of or adapted for turning easily from one to another of various tasks, fields of endeavor, etc.:
a versatile writer.
having or capable of many uses:
a versatile tool.
Botany. attached at or near the middle so as to swing freely, as an anther.
Zoology. turning either forward or backward:
a versatile toe.
variable or changeable, as in feeling, purpose, or policy:
versatile moods.
Origin of versatile
1595-1605; < Latin versātilis revolving, many-sided, equivalent to versāt(us) (past participle of versāre, frequentative of vertere to turn; see verse, -ate1) + -ilis -ile
Related forms
versatilely, adverb
versatility, versatileness, noun
nonversatility, noun
unversatile, adjective
unversatilely, adverb
unversatileness, noun
unversatility, noun
1, 2. adaptable, all-around. 2. handy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for versatility
  • In soccer, as in much of life, versatility is a desirable attribute.
  • Seriously, though, the recipe has great versatility.
  • The versatility and usefulness of this incredible tool is amazing.
  • Today, there are many all-in-one tools, but only one of them is a near-universal metaphor for versatility.
  • Adding to the attractiveness of cheese is its versatility.
  • Her versatility and talent enables her to sing many styles of music, and her stage presence makes her the complete entertainer.
  • It travels the world, absorbing local flavors with amazing versatility.
  • When it comes to travel and exploration, space is always at a premium, so versatility counts for a lot.
  • Whether that versatility will make it a top must-get gadget is up in the air.
  • It was an astonishing demonstration of versatility and endurance.
British Dictionary definitions for versatility


capable of or adapted for many different uses, skills, etc
variable or changeable
(botany) (of an anther) attached to the filament by a small area so that it moves freely in the wind
(zoology) able to turn forwards and backwards: versatile antennae
Derived Forms
versatilely, adverb
versatility (ˌvɜːsəˈtɪlɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin versātilis moving around, from versāre to turn
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 versatility



c.1600, from Latin versatilis "turning, revolving, moving, capable of turning to varied subjects or tasks," from past participle stem of versare "keep turning, be engaged in something, turn over in the mind," frequentative of vertere "to turn" (see versus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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