Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Law Returnable or negotiable in kind or by substitution, as a quantity of grain for an equal amount of the same kind of grain.
  • adj. Interchangeable.
  • n. Something that is exchangeable or substitutable. Often used in the plural.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Able to be substituted for something of equal value or utility; interchangeable, exchangeable, replaceable.
  • n. Any fungible item.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Capable of being replaced by another in respect of function, office, or use.
  • n. In the civil law, a thing of such a nature that it may be replaced by another of equal quantity and quality; a movable which may be estimated by weight, number, or measure, as grain or money.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of goods or commodities; freely exchangeable for or replaceable by another of like nature or kind in the satisfaction of an obligation
  • n. a commodity that is freely interchangeable with another in satisfying an obligation

Etymologies

Medieval Latin fungibilis, from Latin fungī (vice), to perform (in place of).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin fungor "discharge a duty" and -ible "able to". (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And he set the word fungible on a triple word score, pulling into the lead.

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  • Geithner, claimed that it would be impossible to find out where the money went, on the argument that money is "fungible" -- that is to say all money is the same.

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  • Secondly, you assume there will be a free market and oil will remain fungible.

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  • Though biblical historians try hard to paint a detailed picture of the first century for us, it would have to be impossibly fine-grained to give us the generational nuances of a phrase as fungible as “making love,” let alone the alterations that semantic drift might bring to a phrase like “in the beginning was the Word.”

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  • These homes are what economists like to call fungible, easily converted from one commodity into another.

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  • The male host says that the values are fungible, which is equivalent to saying, we have no values.

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  • De Soto goes on to identify six ways in which this legal process enables capitalism to function: 1. The economic potential of any asset is 'fixed' by the abstraction involved as described above; 2. Various elements of dispersed information are integrated into a single, formal, representational system; 3. It makes individual people accountable to an impersonal process of adjudication, rather than local and customary relationships; 4. Crucially, the abstractions are fungible, that is, "unlike physical assets, representations are easily combined, divided, mobilised and used to stimulate business deals".

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  • Just because a commodity is homogeneous, or "fungible," does not mean that there are perfect and costless physical or even derivative markets for that commodity, or that markets in that commodity cannot be segmented.

    Oil is Oil, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • (For those who don't know this lovely word: "fungible" means interchangeable; a stack of 100-dollar bills is the same as an equal stack of 100-dollar bills; a bag of rice is the same as any other bag of rice - yes, yes, we can get into the issues of clean versus dirty money, and different types of rice, but the issue is essential "interchangeability.")

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  • Dude, oil is what we lawyers call "fungible," meaning a barrel of oil is a barrel of oil is a barrel of oil.

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Comments

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  • This word was used in an article in The Washington Post, "Pearls Before Breakfast" by Gene Weingarten. He wrote:

    "L'Enfant Plaza is at the nucleus of federal Washington, and these were mostly mid-level bureaucrats with those indeterminate, oddly fungible titles: policy analyst, project manager, budget officer, specialist, facilitator, consultant."

    November 2, 2009

  • Example: Oil is a world commodity, but gasoline on a global scale is not fungible due to issues with transportation and government intervention to either penalize or subsidize gasoline use. However, once gasoline is in your car's gas tank, it's definitely fungible.

    July 5, 2009

  • "Teachers are not fungible." -- Dr. Eugene White, superintendent of Indianapolis school system.

    June 24, 2009

  • Usually used to describe money.

    November 5, 2007

  • certainly a sneaky little thinktankish word. It has insinuated itself into my mind recently in the phrase "Time is not fungible" For example, I cannot spend an hour on Wordie and do an hour's work simultaneously. . .sadly

    June 15, 2007