Word of the Day Archive
Sunday November 11, 2007
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.
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
Mercurial comes from Latin Mercurius, "Mercury," the Roman god of commerce and messenger of the gods.