adjective ver·sa·tile \ˈvər-sə-təl, especially British -ˌtī(-ə)l\

: able to do many different things

: having many different uses

Full Definition of VERSATILE

:  changing or fluctuating readily :  variable <a versatile disposition>
:  embracing a variety of subjects, fields, or skills; also :  turning with ease from one thing to another
a (1) :  capable of turning forward or backward :  reversible <a versatile toe of a bird> (2) :  capable of moving laterally and up and down <versatile antennae>
b of an anther :  having the filaments attached at or near the middle so as to swing freely
:  having many uses or applications <versatile building material>
ver·sa·tile·ly \-təl-(l)ē, -ˌtī(-ə)l-lē\ adverb
ver·sa·tile·ness \-təl-nəs, -ˌtī(-ə)l-nəs\ noun

Examples of VERSATILE

  1. She is a versatile athlete who participates in many different sports.
  2. A pocketknife is a versatile tool.
  3. Horses stand apart because of their versatile roles in human society, which came to include dairy production, transportation, haulage, plowing, sports, warfare, religion, and status. —Sandra L. Olsen, Natural History, May 2008


French or Latin; French, from Latin versatilis turning easily, from versare to turn, frequentative of vertere
First Known Use: 1605
VERSATILENESS Defined for Kids


adjective ver·sa·tile \ˈvər-sə-təl\

Definition of VERSATILE for Kids

:  able to do many different kinds of things
:  having many uses <a versatile tool>

Word Root of VERSATILE

The Latin word vertere, meaning to turn or to change, and its form versus give us the roots vert and vers. Words from the Latin vertere have something to do with turning or changing. Anything versatile, or able to do or be used for many different things, can change its task easily. A vertebra is a bone in the spine that allows an animal to turn its head or body. To avert is to turn away. To divert is to turn aside onto a new path. To revert is to turn back to a former way of being.


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