[ vuh-jil-i-tee ]
/ vəˈdʒɪl ɪ ti /
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noun Biology.
the ability of an organism to move about freely and migrate.
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Origin of vagility

First recorded in 1935–40; vagile + -ity
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is vagility?

Vagility is the ability of an organism to move and migrate, as in Scientists study a species’ vagility, among other things, to understand a species’ migration habits.

Vagility is literally the ability of an animal or plant species to move. The term is often used to specifically describe the likelihood or probability of success a species would have if it migrated away from its natal habitat or its current living space. The vagility of an animal is normally measured based on how many miles it could travel without dying. 

Many species of birds, for example, will migrate away from one habitat and to another with the seasons, often traveling hundreds of miles as a group and successfully making it back and forth every time. These animals are considered to be highly vagile compared to some low vagility species, such as slow-moving tortoises or amphibians and reptiles that depend on water to live.

Example: This breed of toad has a much higher vagility than lake-bound breeds.

Where does vagility come from?

The first records of the term vagility come from around the 1900s. It combines the term vagile, meaning “having freedom of movement,” and the suffix -ity, which forms abstract nouns that express a state, condition, or quality.

When different species are being observed or even discovered for the first time, the vagility of the creature is often studied, along with what habitats they can reasonably survive in. Vagility is an important factor in the study of migrating creatures because it can reveal what the organisms’ patterns might be and how this can be scientifically explained.

Did you know … ?

What are some words that share a root or word element with vagility

What are some words that often get used in discussing vagility?

How is vagility used in real life?

Vagility is almost always discussed in a biological context.

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True or False?

An animal’s vagility refers to its ability to move.

How to use vagility in a sentence