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quick·​sil·​ver ˈkwik-ˌsil-vər How to pronounce quicksilver (audio)


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: resembling or suggestive of quicksilver
especially : mercurial sense 3

Examples of quicksilver in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Shakti’s musical excellence, pinpoint ensemble work and the hair-raising velocity of its fiery instrumental exchanges and quicksilver improvisations drew fans of jazz, progressive rock and Indian classical music alike. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Aug. 2023 Dickie, a student at Trinity College, wanders into a club debate, where he’s bewitched by the quicksilver sophistry of one of his peers, Willie, who is openly gay. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 22 Aug. 2023 Crawford wins the fight and the argument with his quicksilver skillset and durable smarts. Manouk Akopyan, Los Angeles Times, 29 July 2023 Eventually, 438 feet of handmade wool felt will meander through and among the rocks, evoking deep-blue pools, quicksilver channels and turbulent whitewater. Susan Brown, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 June 2023 Rolling shoulders, swiveling hips, and sinuous torsos ride atop quicksilver footwork. Karen Campbell, BostonGlobe.com, 5 May 2023 Located in between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park, this former mining town became one of the country’s largest producers of quicksilver in the early 20th century, later transforming into a ghost town when the mine closed. Amanda Ogle, Travel + Leisure, 31 Mar. 2023 The district was the site of a number quicksilver mines in the 19th century. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 15 Mar. 2023 The quicksilver was mainly used to ignite bombs. Joe Yogerst, CNN, 16 June 2021
The comment was made when internet companies were thought to be quicksilver entities rather than institutions building legacies. Joanne McNeil, Harper's magazine, 20 Jan. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'quicksilver.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


1655, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of quicksilver was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near quicksilver

Cite this Entry

“Quicksilver.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quicksilver. Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition




Old English cwicseolfor, from cwic "alive" and seolfor "silver"

Word Origin
The metal mercury resembles silver in color. Unlike silver and most other metals, though, mercury is liquid at ordinary temperatures. For that reason it is able to flow and to move almost as if it were alive. The Old English word for mercury was cwicseolfor, a combination of cwic, meaning "alive" or "moving," and seolfor, meaning "silver." The Modern English quicksilver comes from the Old English cwicseolfor.

Medical Definition


quick·​sil·​ver -ˌsil-vər How to pronounce quicksilver (audio)

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