Word of the Day
Monday, October 07, 2002

Definitions for mercurial

  1. [Often capitalized] Of or pertaining to the god Mercury.
  2. [Often capitalized] Of or pertaining to the planet Mercury.
  3. Having the qualities of shrewdness, eloquence, or thievishness attributed to the god Mercury.

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Citations for mercurial
Most of his New England cronies, accustomed to Brownson's frequent changes of opinion, treated him as a mercurial spirit who had finally stepped off the edge of the world rather than as a role model. Patrick Allitt, Catholic Converts
The bulky, white-thatched Georgia congressman was a mercurial, impulsive personality; a brilliant visionary one moment, a petulant, uncontrollable four-year-old the next. Dan Balz and Ronald Brownstein, Storming the Gates
Origin of mercurial
Mercurial comes from Latin Mercurius, "Mercury," the Roman god of commerce and messenger of the gods.