- changeable; volatile; fickle; flighty; erratic: a mercurial nature.
- animated; lively; sprightly; quick-witted.
- pertaining to, containing, or caused by the metal mercury.
- (initial capital letter) of or relating to the god Mercury.
- (initial capital letter) of or relating to the planet Mercury.
- Pharmacology. a preparation of mercury used as a drug.
Origin of mercurial
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for mercurial
Since the recession, a mercurial job market has made it difficult for many vets to find steady employment.From PTSD to Prison: Why Veterans Become Criminals
July 28, 2013
I think that Michael would hate to be falsely remembered as perfect in retrospect—he was mercurial, impulsive, and intense.Michael Hastings, R.I.P.
June 19, 2013
They are superstitious, violent, passionate, mercurial, and secretive, with a greater belief in dragons than in any saint.Book Bag: Paul Theroux’s Favorite Inner-Journey Travel Books
May 14, 2013
But Chechnya has become a republic of fear, the fiefdom of one man: its mercurial 36-year-old president, Ramzan Kadyrov.The Chechens in America: Why They’re Here and Who They Are
April 19, 2013
But I press on, because my mercurial editor is emailing me, “When are you filing that bitcoin story!??”My Bitcoin (Mis)adventure
April 4, 2013
Of a fiery, mercurial disposition, his temper flew in a moment.War from the Inside
Frederick L. (Frederick Lyman) Hitchcock
He is of that deep, mercurial disposition that attracts women.The Spoilers of the Valley
The champagne was bubbling trickily in the veins of the mercurial statesmen.Cabbages and Kings
Vidi, measures approximately, but not with the permanence of the mercurial.The Sailor's Word-Book
William Henry Smyth
He took iodide of potassium for a time after his mercurial course.The Electric Bath
George M. Schweig
- of, like, containing, or relating to mercury
- volatile; livelya mercurial temperament
- (sometimes capital) of, like, or relating to the god or the planet Mercury
- med any salt of mercury for use as a medicine
Word Origin and History for mercurial
late 14c., "pertaining to the planet Mercury" (see Mercury). Meaning "sprightly, volatile, quick" (1590s) is from supposed qualities of those born under the planet Mercury (they also are the qualities of the god Mercury), probably also partly by association with the qualities of quicksilver. A variant in this sense was mercurious (1590s). Related: Mercurially; mercuriality.
- Containing or caused by the action of the element mercury.
- A pharmacological or chemical preparation containing mercury.