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

  • adjective Likely to change or vary; subject to variation; changeable.
  • adjective Inconstant; fickle.
  • adjective Biology Tending to exhibit genetic variation or variation in a physical trait.
  • adjective Mathematics Having no fixed quantitative value.
  • noun Something that varies or is prone to variation.
  • noun Astronomy A variable star.
  • noun A quantity capable of assuming any of a set of values.
  • noun A symbol representing such a quantity. For example, in the expression a2 + b2 = c2, a, b, and c are variables.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Apt to change; changing or altering in a physical sense; liable to change; changeable.
  • In botany and zoology, embracing many individuals and groups (varieties, subspecies, forms, states) which depart somewhat from the strict type: said of a species or, in a similar sense, of some particular character.
  • Liable to vary or change, in a moral sense; mutable; fickle; inconstant: as, variable moods.
  • Capable of being varied, altered, or changed; liable to change; alterable; in grammar, capable of inflection.
  • In mathematics, quantitatively indeterminate, and considered with reference to the various determinations of quantity that are possible in the case. See II.
  • In astronomy, changing in brightness
  • Synonyms and Wavering, unstable, vacillating, fluctuating, fitful.
  • noun That which is variable; that which varies, or is subject or liable to vary or change.
  • noun In mathematics, a quantity which is indeterminate, and is considered with reference to its different possible values; originally, a quantity capable of values continuously connected in one dimension, so that it could be conceived as running through them all in the course of time.
  • noun A shifting wind, as opposed to a trade-wind; hence, the variables, the intermediate region or belt between the northeast and the southeast trade-winds.

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

  • noun That which is variable; that which varies, or is subject to change.
  • noun (Math.) A quantity which may increase or decrease; a quantity which admits of an infinite number of values in the same expression; a variable quantity.
  • noun A shifting wind, or one that varies in force.
  • noun Those parts of the sea where a steady wind is not expected, especially the parts between the trade-wind belts.
  • noun (Math.) that one of two or more variables, connected with each other in any way whatever, to which changes are supposed to be given at will. There may be two or more independent variables in an equation or problem. Cf. Dependent variable, under Dependent.
  • adjective Having the capacity of varying or changing; capable of alternation in any manner; changeable
  • adjective Liable to vary; too susceptible of change; mutable; fickle; unsteady; inconstant
  • adjective (Steam Eng.) a blast pipe with an adjustable opening.
  • adjective (Math.) a variable.
  • adjective (Finance) a mortgage whose percentage interest rate varies depending on some agreed standard, such as the prime rate; -- used often in financing the purchase of a home. Such a mortgage usually has a lower initial interest rate than a fixed-rate mortgage, and this permits buyers of a home to finance the purchase a house of higher price than would be possible with a fixed-rate loan.
  • adjective (Astron.) fixed stars which vary in their brightness, usually in more or less uniform periods.

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

  • adjective able to vary
  • adjective likely to vary
  • adjective marked by diversity or difference
  • adjective mathematics having no fixed quantitative value
  • adjective biology tending to deviate from a normal or recognized type
  • noun something that is variable
  • noun something whose value may be dictated or discovered
  • noun mathematics a quantity that may assume any one of a set of values
  • noun mathematics a symbol representing a variable
  • noun programming a named memory location in which a program can store intermediate results and from which it can read them
  • noun astronomy a variable star

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

  • noun a star that varies noticeably in brightness
  • adjective (used of a device) designed so that a property (as e.g. light) can be varied
  • noun something that is likely to vary; something that is subject to variation
  • adjective marked by diversity or difference
  • noun a symbol (like x or y) that is used in mathematical or logical expressions to represent a variable quantity
  • noun a quantity that can assume any of a set of values
  • adjective liable to or capable of change


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French variable, from Latin variare ("to change"), from varius ("different, various").


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