Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Open to change; readily changeable or unstable.
  • adjective Fluctuating widely.
  • adjective Decomposing readily.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In medicine, noting a mode of application of electricity in which the active electrode is passed back and forth over the nerve or muscle to be acted upon: opposed in this sense to slabile.
  • Unstable; liable to err, fall, or apostatize.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective obsolete Liable to slip, err, fall, or apostatize.
  • adjective Liable or likely to change.
  • adjective (Chem.) Easily decomposed or inactivated when subjected to heat, radiation, or mildly acidic or alkaline conditions; -- of chemical compounds.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Liable to slip, err, fall, or apostatize.
  • adjective Apt or likely to change.
  • adjective chemistry, of a compound or bond Kinetically unstable; rapidly cleaved (and possibly reformed).

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

  • adjective (chemistry, physics, biology) readily undergoing change or breakdown
  • adjective liable to change

Etymologies

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

[Middle English labil, forgetful, wandering, from Old French labile, from Late Latin lābilis, apt to slip, from lābī, to slip.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin labilis ("apt to slip, transient"), from labi ("to fall, slip").

Examples

  • I would, however, dispute the claim that he’s paranoid … and claiming that he’s emotionally labile is quite frankly laughable.

    Think Progress » The Right-Wing Backlash Against Glenn Beck: Stop Being A ‘Clown’ Who’s Trying To Divide Conservatives

  • One is that the internal muscle has become very labile, meaning any little input inside the anus causes it to relax.

    Original Signal - Transmitting Gadgets

  • One is that the internal muscle has become very labile, meaning any little input inside the anus causes it to relax.

    Gizmodo

  • Lying on the table, stuck full of needles in a room painted soft peach, with monks softly chanting in the background, my mind wandered to the acupuncturist's use of the word "labile" in our pre-treatment conversation and the realization that labile and labial were not the same word.

    The EDM SuperBlog

  • Lying on the table, stuck full of needles in a room painted soft peach, with monks softly chanting in the background, my mind wandered to the acupuncturist's use of the word "labile" in our pre-treatment conversation and the realization that labile and labial were not the same word.

    The EDM SuperBlog

  • Lou said … hey no problems, i'd be pleased to help if i can: o) i spent several years trying to convince my previous diabetic team to let me have one and then gave up, because basically they said I was non compliant (which I wasn't I just had "labile" diabetes I think that used to be called 'brittle') so it was too expensive to basically 'waste' on me.

    Discussion Forum - TuDiabetes

  • Louisa said … hey no problems, i'd be pleased to help if i can: o) i spent several years trying to convince my previous diabetic team to let me have one and then gave up, because basically they said I was non compliant (which I wasn't I just had "labile" diabetes I think that used to be called 'brittle') so it was too expensive to basically 'waste' on me.

    Discussion Forum - TuDiabetes - A Community for People Touched by Diabetes

  • Or, conversely, how in the world do we believe Boehner, known for expressing a notably labile --unstable display of emotion -- style and behavior?

    Dr. Cheryl Pappas: Educating the Peeps: Political Information, Please!

  • Or, conversely, how in the world do we believe Boehner, known for expressing a notably labile --unstable display of emotion -- style and behavior?

    Dr. Cheryl Pappas: Educating the Peeps: Political Information, Please!

  • Is truth just a subjective, labile thing that no one can but interpret and never state objectively?

    Laila E Hamarinen: Thoughts On Freedom Of Speech in Europe

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • first encountered in Goya, a biography by Robert Hughes, (2008)

    February 16, 2008

  • Ziggy Stardust was labile. "Cha-cha-cha-changes..."

    October 3, 2008