labile

adjective
la·​bile | \ ˈlā-ˌbī(-ə)l How to pronounce labile (audio) , -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 How to pronounce labile (audio) \ 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 Arias, an exciting and emotionally labile actor, makes Anna a jittery creature, like a woman in the constant throes of a low-grade fever. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Anatomy of a Suicide,’ Pain in Triplicate," 18 Feb. 2020 Indeed people who suffer from labile epilepsy, end-stage emphysema, or exquisite peanut allergies requiring immediate EpiPen availability should not be left to suffer the tragic dilemma of Alec Smith. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, "Letters: For people who need medicine to survive, let’s solve this problem now," 9 June 2019 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of labile was in 1603

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Cite this Entry

“Labile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/labile. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for labile

labile

adjective
la·​bile | \ ˈlā-ˌbīl How to pronounce labile (audio) , -bəl How to pronounce labile (audio) \

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 How to pronounce labile (audio) \ noun, plural labilities

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