[ mer-kyoor-ee-uhl ]
See synonyms for: mercurialmercurialness on

  1. changeable; volatile; fickle; flighty; erratic: a mercurial nature.

  2. animated; lively; sprightly; quick-witted.

  1. pertaining to, containing, or caused by the metal mercury.

  2. (initial capital letter) of or relating to the god Mercury.

  3. (initial capital letter) of or relating to the planet Mercury.

  1. Pharmacology. a preparation of mercury used as a drug.

Origin of mercurial

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Latin mercuriālis “of or pertaining to the god or planet Mercury”; see origin at mercury, -al1

Other words for mercurial

Opposites for mercurial

Other words from mercurial

  • mer·cu·ri·al·ly, adverb
  • mer·cu·ri·al·ness, mer·cu·ri·al·i·ty, noun
  • un·mer·cur·i·al, adjective
  • un·mer·cur·i·al·ly, adverb
  • un·mer·cur·i·al·ness, noun

Words Nearby mercurial Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use mercurial in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for mercurial


/ (mɜːˈkjʊərɪəl) /

  1. of, like, containing, or relating to mercury

  2. volatile; lively: a mercurial temperament

  1. (sometimes capital) of, like, or relating to the god or the planet Mercury

  1. med any salt of mercury for use as a medicine

Origin of mercurial

C14: from Latin mercuriālis

Derived forms of mercurial

  • mercurially, adverb
  • mercurialness or mercuriality, noun

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