adjective \ˈver-ē-ə-bəl\

: able or likely to change or be changed : not always the same

Full Definition of VARIABLE

a :  able or apt to vary :  subject to variation or changes <variable winds> <variable costs>
b :  fickle, inconstant
:  characterized by variations
:  having the characteristics of a variable
:  not true to type :  aberrant —used of a biological group or character
var·i·abil·i·ty \ˌver-ē-ə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
var·i·able·ness \ˈver-ē-ə-bəl-nəs\ noun
var·i·ably \-blē\ adverb

Examples of VARIABLE

  1. The winds were light and variable.
  2. The loan has a variable interest rate.

Origin of VARIABLE

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin variabilis, from variare to vary
First Known Use: 14th century



: something that changes or that can be changed : something that varies

mathematics : a quantity that can have any one of a set of values or a symbol that represents such a quantity

Full Definition of VARIABLE

a :  a quantity that may assume any one of a set of values
b :  a symbol representing a variable
:  something that is variable

Examples of VARIABLE

  1. unemployment and other economic variables

First Known Use of VARIABLE



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In algebra, a symbol (usually a letter) standing in for an unknown numerical value in an equation. Commonly used variables include x and y (real-number unknowns), z (complex-number unknowns), t (time), r (radius), and s (arc length). Variables should be distinguished from coefficients, fixed values that multiply powers of variables in polynomials and algebraic equations. In the quadratic equation ax2 + bx + c = 0, x is the variable, and a, b, and c are coefficients whose values must be specified to solve the equation. In translating word problems into algebraic equations, quantities to be determined can be represented by variables.


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