AskDefine | Define mercurial

Dictionary Definition

mercurial adj
1 liable to sudden unpredictable change; "erratic behavior"; "fickle weather"; "mercurial twists of temperament"; "a quicksilver character, cool and willful at one moment, utterly fragile the next" [syn: erratic, fickle, quicksilver(a)]
2 relating to or under the (astrological) influence of the planet Mercury; "the Mercurial canals"
3 relating to or having characteristics (eloquence, shrewdness, swiftness, thievishness) attributed to the god Mercury; "more than Mercurial thievishness"
4 relating to or containing or caused by mercury; "mercurial preparations"; "mercurial sore mouth"

User Contributed Dictionary



  • (RP): /mɜːˈkjʊəriəl/, /m3:"kjUəri@l/
  • (US): mûrkjo͝oʹrēəl, /mɝˈkjʊriəl/, /m3`"kjUri@l/


  1. Volatile; erratic; unstable; flighty; fickle or changeable in temperament.
  2. Lively; clever; sprightly; animated; quick-witted.
    a mercurial wit.
  3. Of, or pertaining to the element mercury; containing mercury; caused by the action of mercury or quicksilver.
  4. Having characteristics attributed to the Roman god Mercury, such as swiftness, eloquence, shrewdness, and thievishness.
  5. In the context of "Roman mythology": (often capitalized, see Mercurial) Of or pertaining to the Roman god Mercury.
  6. In the context of "astronomy": (often capitalized, see Mercurial) Of or pertaining to the planet Mercury; under the supposed astrological influence of the planet Mercury.


containing the element mercury


  1. A chemical containing mercury.

Extensive Definition

Mercurial may refer to:

See also

mercurial in Slovak: Mercurial

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

active, activist, activistic, adrift, adroit, afloat, agile, alive, alternating, ambitendent, ambivalent, amorphous, animated, at loose ends, aureate, bouncing, bouncy, brass, brassy, brazen, breakneck, breezy, brisk, bronze, bronzy, bubbly, buoyant, capricious, changeable, changeful, changing, chipper, choppy, clever, copper, coppery, coquettish, cunning, cupreous, cuprous, dashing, desultory, deviable, deviating, deviative, deviatory, different, disorderly, divaricate, divergent, diversified, diversiform, dizzy, double-minded, double-quick, dubious, eagle-winged, ebullient, eccentric, effervescent, elastic, energetic, erose, erratic, expansive, expeditious, express, faddish, fast, fast and loose, fence-sitting, fence-straddling, ferrous, ferruginous, fickle, fitful, fleet, flickering, flighty, flirtatious, flitting, fluctuating, flying, freakish, frisky, full of go, full of life, full of pep, galloping, giddy, gilt, gold, gold-filled, gold-plated, golden, hair-trigger, hasty, headlong, hustling, impetuous, impulsive, inconsistent, inconstant, indecisive, infirm, infirm of purpose, ingenious, iron, ironlike, irregular, irresolute, irresolved, irresponsible, jagged, jerky, lead, leaden, light, light of heel, light-footed, live, lively, lubricious, mazy, mercurous, militant, mobile, moody, motley, movable, mugwumpian, mugwumpish, mutable, nickel, nickelic, nickeline, nimble, nimble-footed, nonconformist, nonstandard, nonuniform, of two minds, peppy, perky, pert, pewter, pewtery, pluralistic, precipitate, prompt, quick, quick as lightning, quick as thought, quicksilver, ragged, rambling, rapid, reckless, resilient, restless, rough, roving, running, scatterbrained, shapeless, shifting, shifty, shuffling, silver, silver-plated, silvery, skittish, smacking, snappy, spanking, spasmodic, speedy, spineless, spirited, sporadic, sprightly, spry, steel, steely, swift, temperamental, ticklish, tin, tinny, toying, unaccountable, uncertain, uncontrolled, undecided, undependable, undetermined, undisciplined, unequable, unequal, uneven, unfixed, unorthodox, unpredictable, unreliable, unresolved, unrestrained, unsettled, unstable, unstable as water, unstaid, unsteadfast, unsteady, unsystematic, ununiform, vacillating, vagrant, variable, variegated, variform, various, varying, versatile, vicissitudinary, vicissitudinous, vivacious, volatile, wandering, wanton, wavering, wavery, wavy, wayward, whimsical, winged, wishy-washy, zingy
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