evaporating rapidly; passing off readily in the form of vapor: Acetone is a volatile solvent.
tending or threatening to break out into open violence; explosive: a volatile political situation.
changeable; mercurial; flighty: a volatile disposition.
(of prices, values, etc.) tending to fluctuate sharply and regularly: volatile market conditions.
fleeting; transient: volatile beauty.
Computers. of or relating to storage that does not retain data when electrical power is turned off or fails.
able to fly or flying.
a volatile substance, as a gas or solvent.
- vol·a·til·i·ty [vol-uh-til-i-tee], /ˌvɒl əˈtɪl ɪ ti/, vol·a·tile·ness, noun
- non·vol·a·til·i·ty, noun
- sem·i·vol·a·tile, adjective
- un·vol·a·tile, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use volatile in a sentence
Without government backing, bitcoin's price is highly volatile.Mastercard will support cryptocurrencies—but not the ones you think | Timothy B. Lee | February 11, 2021 | Ars Technica
Yes, accepting such a volatile currency for payment is a GAAP accounting nightmare.Bitcoin $50K? With Tesla now on board, crypto bulls say the sky’s the limit | Bernhard Warner | February 9, 2021 | Fortune
Over three of the stock’s most volatile trading days, GameStop shares changed hands 554 million times — more than 11 times the number of total shares available.How the rich got richer: Reddit trading frenzy benefited Wall Street elite | Douglas MacMillan, Yeganeh Torbati | February 8, 2021 | Washington Post
Methane, for example, consists of a single carbon atom linked to four hydrogen atoms and is extremely volatile.Keystone XL was supposed to be a green pipeline. What does that even mean? | Juliet Grable | February 5, 2021 | Popular-Science
Diseases will likely manifest themselves by the presence of multiple volatile molecules—a cocktail of them, Koulakov thinks, so here rodents’ abilities would be particularly helpful.
Visibly affected the by military atmosphere the young man admitted his emotions were volatile.
Pryor had yet to become the volatile social satirist who unnerved white industry executives and delighted black audiences.How Richard Pryor Beat Bill Cosby and Transformed America | David Yaffe, Scott Saul | December 10, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
But politics are volatile in Ukraine and Opposition Bloc is pushing hard.Ukraine’s Elections: The Battle of the Billionaires | Anna Nemtsova | October 26, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
In the volatile southern province of Kandahar, for instance, an innovative school for teenage girls will soon close its doors.The West Made Lots of Promises to Afghan Girls, Now It’s Breaking Them | Heather Barr | October 20, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Living as they do in the heart of the volatile Caucasus, Georgians are only too aware of the fires that surround them.
The atmosphere of the earth is composed mainly of very volatile elements, known as nitrogen and argon.Outlines of the Earth's History | Nathaniel Southgate Shaler
The nurse brought her sal volatile, and washed the small cut above her eyebrow.Marriage la mode | Mrs. Humphry Ward
I had fears that I might find you alone in a darkened room, with tear-stained eyes and sal-volatile by your side.The Double Four | E. Phillips Oppenheim
Caermarthen's eldest son—bold and volatile, fond of the sea, and living much among sailors—had a small yacht of marvellous speed.Yachting Vol. 2 | Various.
A volatile oil, used to keep away insects from textiles, is obtained from the leaves.Philippine Mats | Hugo H. Miller
British Dictionary definitions for volatile
(of a substance) capable of readily changing from a solid or liquid form to a vapour; having a high vapour pressure and a low boiling point
(of persons) disposed to caprice or inconstancy; fickle; mercurial
(of circumstances) liable to sudden, unpredictable, or explosive change
lasting only a short time: volatile business interests
computing (of a memory) not retaining stored information when the power supply is cut off
obsolete flying or capable of flight; volant
a volatile substance
rare a winged creature
- volatileness or volatility (ˌvɒləˈtɪlɪtɪ), 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
Scientific definitions for volatile
Changing easily from liquid to vapor at normal temperatures and pressures. Essential oils used in perfumes are highly volatile.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.