[ vur-suh-tl or, especially British, -tahyl ]
See synonyms for: versatileversatilenessversatility on

  1. capable of or adapted for turning easily from one to another of various tasks, fields of endeavor, etc.: It takes a truly versatile writer to manage two genres so well.

  2. having or capable of many uses: A pocket knife is a versatile tool.

  1. Botany. attached at or near the middle so as to swing freely, as an anther.

  2. Zoology. turning either forward or backward: a versatile toe.

  3. variable or changeable, as in feeling, purpose, or policy: His versatile moods made him a challenge to work with.

  4. Slang. vers.

Origin of versatile

First recorded in 1595–1605; from Latin versātilis “revolving, many-sided,” from versāt(us) “turned repeatedly” (past participle of versāre “to turn repeatedly,” from vertere “to turn”; see verse) + -ilis -ile

Other words for versatile

Other words from versatile

  • ver·sa·tile·ly, adverb
  • ver·sa·til·i·ty [vur-suh-til-i-tee], /ˌvɜr səˈtɪl ɪ ti/, ver·sa·tile·ness [vur-suh-tl-nis] /ˈvɜr sə tl nɪs/ noun
  • un·ver·sa·tile, adjective
  • un·ver·sa·tile·ly, adverb
  • un·ver·sa·tile·ness, noun

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

How to use versatile in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for versatile


/ (ˈvɜːsəˌtaɪl) /

  1. capable of or adapted for many different uses, skills, etc

  2. variable or changeable

  1. botany (of an anther) attached to the filament by a small area so that it moves freely in the wind

  2. zoology able to turn forwards and backwards: versatile antennae

Origin of versatile

C17: from Latin versātilis moving around, from versāre to turn

Derived forms of versatile

  • versatilely, adverb
  • versatility (ˌvɜːsəˈtɪlɪtɪ), 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