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From Anglo-Norman / Old French mercurial, and their source, Latin mercurialis, from Mercurius (Mercury).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /məːˈkjʊəɹɪəl/
  • (US) IPA(key): /mɝˈkjʊɹi.əl/, /mɝˈkjɔɹi.əl/


mercurial (plural mercurials)

  1. (obsolete) Any of the plants known as mercury. [13th-17th c.]
  2. (astrology) Someone born under the influence of Mercury. [from 16th c.]
  3. (now historical) A preparation of mercury, especially as a treatment for syphilis. [from 17th c.]


mercurial (comparative more mercurial, superlative most mercurial)

  1. (often capitalized, see Mercurial) Pertaining to the planet Mercury. [from 14th c.]
  2. (often capitalized, see Mercurial) Pertaining to the Roman god Mercury, the god of trade; hence, money-making; crafty.. [from 15th c.]
    • J. Q. Adams
      the mercurial wand of commerce
  3. (astrology) Born under the influence of the planet Mercury, and having such characteristics. [from 16th c.]
  4. Of, or pertaining to the element mercury; containing mercury; caused by the action of mercury or quicksilver. [from 16th c.]
  5. Having a volatile or lively character; quick-witted, changeable, animated. [from 17th c.]
    • 1723, Charles Walker, Memoirs of Sally Salisbury, I:
      From the natural Mercurial Briskness of her Temper, a sedentary Life had ever been her Aversion [...].
    • 2016 October 22, Rami G Khouri, “Lebanese oligarchy preserves its interests once again”, in Aljazeera[1]:
      Lebanon has shown once again that it is a land of dazzling deals and mercurial personalities, including in the realm of the national presidency itself.
  6. Volatile, changeable.
    his mercurial temperament

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mercurial (plural mercuriales)

  1. mercurial