[moh-buh l, -beel or, esp. British, -bahyl]
See more synonyms for mobile on
  1. capable of moving or being moved readily.
  2. Digital Technology. pertaining to or noting a cell phone, usually one with computing ability, or a portable, wireless computing device used while held in the hand, as in mobile tablet; mobile PDA; mobile app.
  3. utilizing motor vehicles for ready movement: a mobile library.
  4. Military. permanently equipped with vehicles for transport.
  5. flowing freely, as a liquid.
  6. changeable or changing easily in expression, mood, purpose, etc.: a mobile face.
  7. quickly responding to impulses, emotions, etc., as the mind.
  8. Sociology.
    1. characterized by or permitting the mixing of social groups.
    2. characterized by or permitting relatively free movement from one social class or level to another.
  9. of or relating to a mobile.
  1. a piece of sculpture having delicately balanced units constructed of rods and sheets of metal or other material suspended in midair by wire or twine so that the individual parts can move independently, as when stirred by a breeze.Compare stabile(def 3).
  2. mobile phone.
  3. Informal. a mobile home.
  4. Citizens Band Radio Slang. a vehicle.

Origin of mobile

1480–90; < Latin, neuter of mōbilis movable, equivalent to mō- (variant stem of movēre to move) + -bilis -ble
Related formsnon·mo·bile, adjectivesem·i·mo·bile, adjectiveun·mo·bile, adjective


[moh-beel, moh-beel]
  1. a seaport in SW Alabama at the mouth of the Mobile River.
  2. a river in SW Alabama, formed by the confluence of the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers. 38 miles (61 km) long.


  1. a combining form extracted from automobile, occurring as the final element in compounds denoting specialized types of motorized conveyances: snowmobile; especially productive in coinages naming vehicles equipped to procure or deliver objects, provide services, etc., to people without regular access to these: bloodmobile; bookmobile; clubmobile; jazzmobile.

primum mobile

[pree-moo m moh-bi-le; English prahy-muh m mob-uh-lee, pree-]
noun Latin.
  1. (in Ptolemaic astronomy) the outermost of the 10 concentric spheres of the universe, making a complete revolution every 24 hours and causing all the others to do likewise.
  2. prime mover.

Origin of primum mobile

literally, first moving (thing) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mobile

Contemporary Examples of mobile

Historical Examples of mobile

  • Mobile was a city that was generally quite disdained by impresarii.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • The money was handed over to the engine-driver, who sent it off to Mobile.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • He had thin, mobile lips, which expressed friendship and curiosity at this moment.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • You can't call out an officer; you'll be sent to the water-batteries at Mobile.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • On the coast to the west of Mobile, we find islands not worth mentioning.

    The History of Louisiana

    Le Page Du Pratz

British Dictionary definitions for mobile


  1. having freedom of movement; movable
  2. changing quickly in expressiona mobile face
  3. sociol (of individuals or social groups) moving within and between classes, occupations, and localitiesupwardly mobile
  4. (of military forces) able to move freely and quickly to any given area
  5. (postpositive) informal having transport availableare you mobile tonight?
    1. a sculpture suspended in midair with delicately balanced parts that are set in motion by air currents
    2. (as modifier)mobile sculpture Compare stabile
  1. short for mobile phone

Word Origin for mobile

C15: via Old French from Latin mōbilis, from movēre to move


  1. a port in SW Alabama, on Mobile Bay (an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico): the state's only port and its first permanent settlement, made by French colonists in 1711. Pop: 193 464 (2003 est)


suffix forming nouns
  1. indicating a vehicle designed for a particular person or purposePopemobile

primum mobile

  1. a prime mover
  2. astronomy the outermost empty sphere in the Ptolemaic system that was thought to revolve around the earth from east to west in 24 hours carrying with it the inner spheres of the planets, sun, moon, and fixed stars

Word Origin for primum mobile

C15: from Medieval Latin: first moving (thing)
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

Word Origin and History for mobile

late 15c., from Middle French mobile (14c.), from Latin mobilis "movable, easy to move; loose, not firm," figuratively, "pliable, flexible, susceptible, nimble, quick; changeable, inconstant, fickle," contraction of *movibilis, from movere "to move" (see move (v.)). Sociology sense from 1927. Mobile home first recorded 1940.


city in Alabama, U.S., attested c.1540 in Spanish as Mauvila, referring to an Indian group and perhaps from Choctaw (Muskogean) moeli "to paddle." Related: Mobilian.


early 15c. in astronomy, "outer sphere of the universe," from mobile (adj.); the artistic sense is first recorded 1949 as a shortening of mobile sculpture (1936). Now-obsolete sense of "the common people, the rabble" (1670s) led to mob (n.).

primum mobile


"the first source of motion," mid-15c., from Medieval Latin (11c.), literally "the first movable thing;" see prime (adj.) + mobile. A translation of Arabic al-muharrik al-awwal "the first moving" (Avicenna).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mobile in Culture


A sculpture made up of suspended shapes that move.


Alexander Calder, a twentieth-century American sculptor, is known for his mobiles.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.