labile

adjective
la·​bile | \ˈlā-ˌbī(-ə)l, -bəl\

Definition of labile 

1 : readily or continually undergoing chemical, physical, or biological change or breakdown : unstable a labile mineral

2 : readily open to change has so labile a face that some of her scenes … rock with emotion— Manny Farber

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Other Words from labile

lability \lā-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun

Did You Know?

We are confident that you won't slip up or err in learning labile, despite its etymology. The word was borrowed into English from French and can be traced back (by way of Middle French labile, meaning "prone to err") to the Latin verb labi, meaning "to slip or fall." Indeed, the first sense of labile in English was "prone to slip, err, or lapse," but that usage is now obsolete. Other labi descendants in English include collapse, elapse, prolapse, and simply lapse.

Examples of labile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But cancers are both heterogeneous and labile; elsewhere in a tumour, and later in a tumour’s progression, things may look different. The Economist, "A cell among trillionsUnderstanding cancer’s unruly origins helps early diagnosis," 16 Sep. 2017 But cancers are both heterogeneous and labile The Economist, "A cell among trillionsUnderstanding cancer’s unruly origins helps early diagnosis," 16 Sep. 2017 Yes, both Mr. Spector and Ms. Hall are dynamic, intelligent and emotionally labile. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "Rebecca Hall and Morgan Spector: Together, Onstage and Off," 25 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'labile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of labile

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for labile

French, from Middle French, prone to err, from Late Latin labilis, from Latin labi to slip — more at sleep

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Time Traveler for labile

The first known use of labile was in 1603

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More Definitions for labile

labile

adjective
la·​bile | \ˈlā-ˌbīl, -bəl \

Medical Definition of labile 

: readily or frequently changing: as

a : readily or continually undergoing chemical, physical, or biological change or breakdown a labile antigen

b : characterized by wide fluctuations (as in blood pressure or glucose tolerance) labile hypertension labile diabetes

c : emotionally unstable

Other Words from labile

lability \lā-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē \ noun plural -ties

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More from Merriam-Webster on labile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with labile

Nglish: Translation of labile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of labile for Arabic Speakers

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