Trend Watch

Mercurial

When:

Lookups spiked on October 6, 2011.

Why:

Many reports on the death of Steve Jobs – a man known for exceptionally high standards and an unconventional approach to business – described him as mercurial.

Mercurial means "characterized by rapid and unpredictable changes of mood." It can be used to mean "temperamental" or "volatile," but also suggests versatility.

It comes from the Roman god Mercury, known – appropriately enough – as the swiftly-travelling god of commerce.

Photo: Ben Stanfield / flickr

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