Word of the Day

Monday, October 07, 2002

mercurial

\mur-KYUR-ee-uhl\ , adjective;
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.
4.
Changeable in temperament or mood; temperamental; volatile.
5.
Of, pertaining to, or containing mercury.
6.
Caused by the use of mercury.
Quotes:
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:
Mercurial comes from Latin Mercurius, "Mercury," the Roman god of commerce and messenger of the gods.
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