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

  • n. See mercury.
  • adj. Unpredictable; mercurial: "a quicksilver character, cool and willful at one moment, utterly fragile the next” ( Sven Birkerts).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The metal mercury.
  • n. An amalgam of mercury and tin applied to the backs of mirrors, quicksilvering.
  • adj. Unpredictable, erratic or fickle; mercurial.
  • v. To overlay with quicksilver.
  • v. To treat with quicksilver.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The metal mercury; -- so called from its resemblance to liquid silver.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To overlay with quicksilver; treat with quicksilver: chiefly used in the past and present participles.
  • n. The common popular designation of the metal mercury. See mercury, 6, and mercurial.
  • n. A term popularly applied to the amalgam of mercury and tin on the back of a common mirror.

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

  • adj. liable to sudden unpredictable change
  • n. a heavy silvery toxic univalent and bivalent metallic element; the only metal that is liquid at ordinary temperatures


Middle English, from Old English cwicseolfor, living silver (translation of Latin argentum vīvum) : cwic, cwicu, alive; see gwei- in Indo-European roots + seolfor, silver; see silver.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English quyksilver, from Old English cwicseolfor. Literally "living silver" from its ability to move. See quick in the sense of living. (Wiktionary)



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