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


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

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

OTHER WORDS FROM mercurial Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for mercurial

British Dictionary definitions for mercurial

/ (mɜːˈkjʊərɪəl) /


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

Derived forms of mercurial

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

Medical definitions for mercurial

[ mər-kyurē-əl ]


Containing or caused by the action of the element mercury.


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.