Definition of mercurial adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//mɜːˈkjʊəriəl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//mɜːrˈkjʊriəl//
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  1. 1(literary) often changing or reacting in a way that is unexpected synonym volatile Emily's mercurial temperament made her difficult to live with. Advertising is a mercurial business.
  2. 2(literary) lively and quick a brilliant, mercurial mind See related entries: Energetic
  3. 3(specialist) containing mercury mercurial compounds
  4. Word Originlate Middle English (referring to something of the planet Mercury): from Latin mercurialis ‘relating to the god Mercury’, from Mercurius ‘Mercury’. Senses (1) and (2) date from the mid 17th cent.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: mercurial