American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Roman Mythology Of or relating to the god Mercury.
- adj. Astronomy Of or relating to the planet Mercury.
- adj. Having the characteristics of eloquence, shrewdness, swiftness, and thievishness attributed to the god Mercury.
- adj. Containing or caused by the action of the element mercury.
- adj. Quick and changeable in temperament; volatile: a mercurial nature.
- n. A pharmacological or chemical preparation containing mercury.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- [capitalized] Pertaining to the god Mercury; having the form or qualities attributed to Mercury.
- Like Mercury in character; having the moral or mental qualities ascribed to the god Mercury, or supposed by astrologists to belong to those under his star, the planet Mercury; light-hearted; gay; active; sprightly; flighty; fickle; changeable; volatile.
- Pertaining to Mercury as god of trade; hence, pertaining to trade or money-making: as, mercurial pursuits.
- Pertaining to Mercury as herald; hence, giving intelligence; pointing out; directing.
- Pertaining or relating to mercury or quicksilver. Containing or consisting of quicksilver or mercury: as. mercurial preparations or medicines.
- n. A person possessing any of the attributes of the god Mercury; one of mercurial temperament; a sprightly person; also, one given to trickery; a cheat or thief.
- n. A preparation of mercury used as a drug.
- adj. Volatile; erratic; unstable; flighty; fickle or changeable in temperament.
- adj. Lively; clever; sprightly; animated; quick-witted.
- adj. Of, or pertaining to the element mercury; containing mercury; caused by the action of mercury or quicksilver.
- adj. Having characteristics attributed to the Roman god Mercury, such as swiftness, eloquence, shrewdness, and thievishness.
- adj. Roman mythology (often capitalized, see Mercurial) Of or pertaining to the Roman god Mercury.
- adj. astronomy (often capitalized, see Mercurial) Of or pertaining to the planet Mercury; under the supposed astrological influence of the planet Mercury.
- n. A chemical containing mercury.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Having the qualities fabled to belong to the god Mercury; swift; active; sprightly; fickle; volatile; changeable.
- adj. obsolete Having the form or image of Mercury; -- applied to ancient guideposts.
- adj. Of or pertaining to Mercury as the god of trade; hence, money-making; crafty.
- adj. Of or pertaining to, or containing, mercury. See Mercury, 2.
- adj. (Med.) Caused by the use of mercury.
- n. A person having mercurial qualities.
- n. (Med.) A preparation containing mercury.
- adj. relating to or under the (astrological) influence of the planet Mercury
- adj. liable to sudden unpredictable change
- adj. relating to or containing or caused by mercury
- adj. relating to or having characteristics (eloquence, shrewdness, swiftness, thievishness) attributed to the god Mercury
- Middle English, of the planet Mercury, from Latin mercuriālis, of the god or planet Mercury, from Mercurius, Mercury. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“I guess the "mercurial" is a pretty negative thing.”
“Jobs is often described as mercurial and prone to outbursts, while Cook, who was raised in a small town in Alabama, is polite and soft-spoken, The Times reports.”
“A number of people have described Denny as "mercurial" - the commanding personality who was sometimes afraid to go onstage.”
“Carlos Zambrano -- who almost defines the term "mercurial" -- can put his head in the game tonight long enough to beat a tough pitcher in Braves made bigger news than their loss last night; just a couple of days after I asked Martin at the Braves released him.”
“Brown has been described as mercurial, even erratic.”
“He's best described as a mercurial person, so there's a chance he might yet change his mind -- selfishly, I hope he does -- but his decision is consistent with the person he is and was and always will be.”
“As a businesswoman, she was called mercurial, cunning, cynical, and calculating, but personally she was softhearted and had a passion for helping the less fortunate who called her “the Angel of the West”.”
“He's best described as a mercurial person, so there's a chance he might yet ...”
“McCain is described as mercurial and adversarial; he has become notorious for his temper tantrums and many believe he suffers from untreated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from his six years as a P.O.W. Despite these marked personal differences, the starkest contrast between Obama and McCain is in their worldviews.”
“He was very often described as mercurial, difficult to work with.”
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