mercurial

[ mer-kyoor-ee-uhl ]
/ mərˈkyʊər i əl /

adjective

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.

noun

Pharmacology. a preparation of mercury used as a drug.

Origin of mercurial

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin mercuriālis of, pertaining to the god or planet Mercury. See mercury, -al1

Related forms

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mercurial

British Dictionary definitions for mercurial

mercurial

/ (mɜːˈkjʊərɪəl) /

adjective

of, like, containing, or relating to mercury
volatile; livelya mercurial temperament
(sometimes capital) of, like, or relating to the god or the planet Mercury

noun

med any salt of mercury for use as a medicine

Derived Forms

mercurially, adverbmercurialness or mercuriality, noun

Word Origin for mercurial

C14: from Latin mercuriālis
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

Medicine definitions for mercurial

mercurial

[ mər-kyurē-əl ]

adj.

Containing or caused by the action of the element mercury.

n.

A pharmacological or chemical preparation containing mercury.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.