- a mercurial temper
mercurial was our Word of the Day on 07/15/2018. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of mercurial in a Sentence
- Few moments in English history have been more hungry for the future, its mercurial possibilities and its hope of richness, than the spring of 1603. —Adam Nicolson, God's Secretaries, 2003
- Though you could see all three places in one day, each of them makes you want to stay or to keep returning to watch the effects of the changing weather and the mercurial Sicilian light. —Francine Prose, Atlantic, December 2002
- Some scientists suggest that because manic-depressive patients are ever riding the bio-chemical express between emotional extremes, their brains end up more complexly wired and remain more persistently plastic than do the brains of less mercurial sorts. —Natalie Angier, New York Times, 12 Oct. 1993
- Still grinning, still miming, he samba-ed across the floor … and started in on the dishes with a vigor that would have prostrated his mercurial cousin. —T. Coraghessan Boyle, Harper's, October 1987
the boss's mood is so mercurial that we never know how he's going to react to anything
Recent Examples of mercurial from the Web
The issue is credited as being written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Steve Ditko, a legendary, mercurial artist who worked at Marvel Comics for roughly a decade starting in the mid-1950s.
Despite the many awards for his science fiction and fantasy stories, his reputation suffered, particularly towards the end of his life, from his mercurial and sometimes violent temper, which led to transgressive and criminal behavior.
Trim and mercurial, Philbin, who once clashed with billionaire Eli Broad over funding and turned away potential board members who didn’t share her progressive inclinations, runs on self-assurance and charm.
The on-again, off-again summit between Messrs. Trump and Kim, two of the world’s most recognizable and mercurial figures, has electrified the host city, where the summit has been front-page news for a week.
Mariana, ever mercurial, chose Mat over Wyatt, leaving Wyatt to become a proto-Jesus.
The Americans considered him dangerous and mercurial.
Sergey was exuberant, mercurial, strongly opinionated, and able to leap intellectual chasms in a single bound.
The designer who inspired Phantom Thread’s mercurial, omelette-eating courtier is the subject of a new biography.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mercurial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The Roman god Mercury ("Mercurius" in Latin) was the messenger and herald of the gods and also the god of merchants and thieves. (His counterpart in Greek mythology is Hermes.) He was noted for his eloquence, swiftness, and cunning, and the Romans named what appeared to them to be the fastest-moving planet in his honor. The Latin adjective derived from his name, mercurialis, meaning "of or relating to Mercury," was borrowed into English in the 14th century as "mercurial." Although the adjective initially meant "born under the planet Mercury," it came to mean also "having qualities of eloquence, ingenuity, or thievishness attributed to the god Mercury or the influence of the planet Mercury," and then "unpredictably changeable."
capricious, changeable, changeful, fickle, flickery, fluctuating, fluid, inconsistent, inconstant, mutable, skittish, temperamental, uncertain, unpredictable, unsettled, unstable, unsteady, variable, volatile;
up in the air;
Synonym Discussion of mercurial
- an inconstant friend
- performers discover how fickle fans can be
- an utterly capricious critic
- made anxious by her boss's mercurial temperament
- too unstable to hold a job
MERCURIAL Defined for English Language Learners
: changing moods quickly and often
: changing often : very changeable
: very lively and quick
Seen and Heard
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