• synonyms


[ley-buh l, -bahyl]
  1. apt or likely to change.
  2. Chemistry. (of a compound) capable of changing state or becoming inactive when subjected to heat or radiation.
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Origin of labile

1400–50; late Middle English labyl < Late Latin lābilis, equivalent to Latin lāb(ī) to slip + -ilis -ile
Related formsla·bil·i·ty [luh-bil-i-tee, ley-] /ləˈbɪl ɪ ti, leɪ-/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for labile

Historical Examples of labile

  • We are rather like the labile chemical compounds: our molecules readily rearrange themselves.

    Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2 (of 6)

    Havelock Ellis

  • On the contrary the labile opsonins of normal serum have a comparatively general action on different organisms.

British Dictionary definitions for labile


  1. chem (of a compound) prone to chemical change
  2. liable to change or move
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Derived Formslability (ləˈbɪlɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for labile

C15: via Late Latin lābilis, from Latin lābī to slide, slip
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

labile in Medicine


(lābīl′, -bəl)
  1. Receptive to change; adaptable.
  2. Constantly undergoing or likely to undergo change, as a chemical compound; unstable.
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Related formsla•bili•ty (-bĭlĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.