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V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



mercurial

adjective

Definition: 1. containing or being somehow related to mercury; 2. having a temperamental, active, or unpredictable personality; 3. quick, lively, and shrewd, like the god Mercury

Synonyms: erratic, changeable, fickle, volatile, unpredictable, fluctuating, temperamental, moody, lively, quick

Antonyms: constant, invariable, steady, stable, even

Tips: Mercurial is related to the word mercury. When capitalized, Mercurial can refer to the planet Mercury or to the god by that name, who was characterized as shrewd, eloquent, and swift. It can also refer to those characteristics (not capitalized). A person or thing liable to change very suddenly is also said to be mercurial. To better understand this definition, think of the way mercury in a thermometer rises or lowers based on temperature.

Usage Examples:

Is that a mercurial thermometer or a digital one? (mercury-containing)

Zoe can be a lot of fun, but her mercurial temperament means that she can also become angry very quickly. (moody, unpredictable, erratic)

Eccentric and mercurial, the scientist was brilliant, fascinating, and also completely unreliable. (erratic, temperamental, fickle)

The comedian relied on his mercurial wit, not rehearsed jokes, to entertain his audience. (lively, quick)


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