quicksilver

[ kwik-sil-ver ]
/ ˈkwɪkˌsɪl vər /

noun

the metallic element mercury.

verb (used with object)

to amalgamate (metal) with mercury.

Origin of quicksilver

before 1000; Middle English qwyksilver, Old English cwicseolfor (translation Latin argentum vīvum) literally, living silver
Related formsquick·sil·ver·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for quicksilver

quicksilver

/ (ˈkwɪkˌsɪlvə) /

noun

another name for mercury (def. 1)

adjective

rapid or unpredictable in movement or changea quicksilver temper

Word Origin for quicksilver

Old English, from cwicu alive (see quick) + seolfer silver
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 quicksilver

quicksilver


n.

Old English cwicseolfor, literally "living silver," translating Latin argentum vivum (cf. Italian argento vivo), literally "living silver;" so called from its liquid mobility. See quick (adj.) + silver (n.). Cf. Dutch kwikzilver, Old High German quecsilbar, German quecksilber, French vif-argent, Italian argenta viva.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper