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



    BrE BrE//ˈvɒlətaɪl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈvɑːlətl//
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  1. 1(often disapproving) (of a person or their moods) changing easily from one mood to another a highly volatile personality
  2. 2(of a situation) likely to change suddenly; easily becoming dangerous synonym unstable a highly volatile situation from which riots might develop a volatile exchange rate
  3. 3(specialist) (of a substance) that changes easily into a gas Petrol is a volatile substance.
  4. Word OriginMiddle English (in the sense ‘creature that flies’, also, as a collective, ‘birds’): from Old French volatil or Latin volatilis, from volare ‘to fly’.Extra examples Edwards was a highly volatile character. a potentially volatile situation Exporting the product was difficult due to a volatile exchange rate. He was a very volatile character when playing. She was a more volatile personality than her sister. She was a top model famed for her volatile behaviour. This is a highly volatile situation from which riots might develop.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: volatile

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