mercury

noun mer·cu·ry \ ˈmər-kyə-rē , -k(ə-)rē \
Updated on: 3 Dec 2017

Definition of mercury

plural mercuries
1 a capitalized : a Roman god of commerce, eloquence, travel, cunning, and theft who serves as messenger to the other gods — compare hermes
b often capitalized, archaic : a bearer of messages or news or a conductor of travelers
2
[Middle English mercurie, from Medieval Latin mercurius, from Latin, the god]
a : a silver-white poisonous heavy metallic element that is liquid at ordinary temperatures and is used especially in batteries, in dental amalgam, and in scientific instruments called also quicksilver; see Chemical Elements Table
b : the column of mercury in a thermometer or barometer; also : temperature
  • the mercury rose above 70 degrees
3 capitalized : the planet nearest the sun — see Planets Table

Examples of mercury in a Sentence

  1. In the summer, the mercury can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Recent Examples of mercury from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of mercury

Latin Mercurius, Roman god and the planet


MERCURY Defined for English Language Learners

mercury

noun

Definition of mercury for English Language Learners

  • : a silver metal that is liquid at normal temperatures

  • : the mercury in a thermometer that shows the air's temperature

  • Mercury : the planet that is closest to the sun


MERCURY Defined for Kids

mercury

noun mer·cu·ry \ ˈmər-kyə-rē \

Definition of mercury for Students

1 : a heavy silvery white poisonous metallic chemical element that is liquid at ordinary temperatures
2 : the column of mercury in a thermometer or barometer
3 capitalized : the planet that is nearest the sun and has a diameter of about 3000 miles (4700 kilometers)

Medical Dictionary

mercury

noun mer·cu·ry \ ˈmər-kyə-rē, -k(ə-)rē \

medical Definition of mercury

plural mercuries
1 : a heavy silver-white poisonous metallic element that is liquid at ordinary temperatures and used especially in scientific instruments symbol Hg called also quicksilver; see Chemical Elements Table
2 : a pharmaceutical preparation containing mercury or a compound of it

Biographical Note for mercury

  • Mercury, Roman mythological character. In Roman mythology Mercury became identified with the Greek god Hermes. This god was known especially as the fleet-footed messenger of the gods. He was also the god of science and the arts and the patron of travelers and athletes. He is typically represented in art as a young man wearing a winged helmet and winged sandals and bearing a caduceus. The metal mercury was named after him most probably because he symbolizes mobility.


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