variable

adjective
var·​i·​able | \ ˈver-ē-ə-bəl How to pronounce variable (audio) \

Definition of variable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : able or apt to vary : subject to variation or changes variable winds variable costs
2 : characterized by variations
3 : having the characteristics of a variable
4 : not true to type : aberrant used of a biological group or character

variable

noun

Definition of variable (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a quantity that may assume any one of a set of values
b : a symbol representing a variable
2a : something that is variable
b : a factor in a scientific experiment that may be subject to change

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Other Words from variable

Adjective

variability \ ˌver-​ē-​ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce variability (audio) \ noun
variableness \ ˈver-​ē-​ə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce variableness (audio) \ noun
variably \ -​blē How to pronounce variably (audio) \ adverb

Examples of variable in a Sentence

Adjective The winds were light and variable. The loan has a variable interest rate. Noun unemployment and other economic variables
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Hybrids use a continuously variable automatic transmission. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "2020 Toyota Highlander channels Camry’s spirit in a three-row SUV (review)," 28 Dec. 2019 Hybrids use a continuously variable automatic transmission. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "2020 Toyota Highlander channels Camry's spirit in a three-row SUV," 18 Dec. 2019 Entry models have a 160 horsepower 1.5-liter with a continuously variable automatic transmission. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Chevrolet Malibu RS: a mileage maker with blacked-out style," 22 Sep. 2019 In industry, the greatest investments estimated would be in energy and environmental management and smart controls, followed by industrial-machinery manufacturing such as that of high-efficiency motors and variable-speed drives. Marilyn A. Brown, Scientific American, "Would a Green New Deal Add or Kill Jobs?," 17 Dec. 2019 The women, raucous and combustible, have their own agendas, and their own alliances based on a variable calculus of race, blood, and personal affinity. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, "Stephen Adly Guirgis’s World of Broken Women," 16 Dec. 2019 The optional Sport Performance Package includes active rear steering along with a variable gear ratio system, an active rear spoiler, Alcantara headliner, and carbon fiber scuff plates. Arv Voss, Houston Chronicle, "2020 Lexus LC 500h: Hybrid Grand Touring Coupe based on the GA-L platform architecture," 13 Dec. 2019 It's set to bring you jaw-dropping visuals with 8K support with a frame rate up to 120fps, raytracing and variable refresh rate support. Brittany Vincent, CNN Underscored, "Here's what we know about the Xbox Series X," 13 Dec. 2019 Temperatures are expected to be below freezing with light variable winds. Mike Preston, baltimoresun.com, "Preston: Cheap shots in NFL are inevitable, but Ravens need to protect Lamar Jackson before it’s too late," 12 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Many variables affect children’s lives — new teachers, new schools, new milestones. NBC News, "Parents pay thousands for 'brain training' to help kids with ADHD and autism. But does it work?," 20 Dec. 2019 There are too many variables and too many inexplicable things happen in college football. oregonlive, "Oregon’s Mario Cristobal proves a college coach can make good on the second try: Issues & Answers," 14 Nov. 2019 Mayfield’s interceptions this season show how many different variables can lead to mistakes. Scott Patsko, cleveland, "What’s the story with Baker Mayfield’s 11 interceptions this season?," 22 Oct. 2019 Too many variables are different from what would happen during a regular-season game. Jimmy Greenfield, chicagotribune.com, "Just a preseason game? Jonathan Toews expects better after Blackhawks’ uninspiring 6-0 loss to the Capitals: ‘That’s got to be a wake up call’," 26 Sep. 2019 With the Circus Fire, Hartnett-McCann said there are many unknown variables that will dictate what happens when the graves numbered 4512 and 2109 are opened. Steven Goode, courant.com, "The medical examiner will exhume two bodies from the Hartford Circus Fire, but finding DNA samples so they can be identified won’t be easy," 22 Sep. 2019 There’s so many variables in winning a championship. Mark Medina, The Mercury News, "Will Kevin Durant stay? Warriors luminaries chime in," 26 June 2019 Several variables could affect negotiations on a Rivers’ contract extension. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: After big deal for Big Ben, what’s Chargers QB Philip Rivers worth?," 20 June 2019 Veronica finds evidence of this in video footage, so afraid that there's too many loose variables, Hiram orders Sheriff Minetta to head to the mines to shoot and kill all the Shadow Lake boys. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Every "Riverdale" Character That's Been Killed Off," 10 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'variable.' 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 variable

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1816, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for variable

Adjective

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Late Latin variābilis "changeable," from Latin variāre "to make changeable, vary" + -ābilis -able

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Time Traveler for variable

Time Traveler

The first known use of variable was in the 14th century

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Statistics for variable

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Variable.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/variability. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for variable

variability

noun

Financial Definition of variability

What It Is

Variability is the degree to which a data series deviates from its mean (or in the accounting world, how much a budgeted value differs from an actual value).

How It Works

For example, let's say Company XYZ stock has the following prices:

The average of these prices is $21.33. To calculate the variance, we see how "far away" each day's stock price is from $21.33, like this:

Notice that some of the differences are negative. Because we're going to calculate the average difference, the negative numbers create a mathematical problem (they'll offset the positive numbers and screw up the calculation). To avoid this, we square each difference so that each difference is positive, like this:

The last step is simply calculating the average of those squared differences, which is $9.42, and then taking the square root of that number to get the amount by which Company XYZ stock tends to vary from its average price.

The square root is $3.07, meaning that when Company XYZ deviates from that $21 average, it tends to do so by about $3.07.

Why It Matters

This is only one way to measure variability. Beta, regression analysis, and many other statistical methods are designed to figure out just how volatile a data series is. Variability is a measure of volatility and thus a measure of risk, because it measures how much something like a stock tends to deviate from its "usual" value. The higher the variability, the more wildly the stock fluctuates when it fluctuates. Accordingly, the higher the variability, the riskier the stock.

Source: Investing Answers

variable

adjective
How to pronounce variable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of variable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: able or likely to change or be changed : not always the same

variable

noun

English Language Learners Definition of variable (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that changes or that can be changed : something that varies
mathematics : a quantity that can have any one of a set of values or a symbol that represents such a quantity

variable

adjective
var·​i·​able | \ ˈver-ē-ə-bəl How to pronounce variable (audio) \

Kids Definition of variable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : able to change : likely to be changed : changeable a variable climate
2 : having differences
3 : different from what is normal or usual

Other Words from variable

variably \ -​blē \ adverb

variable

noun

Kids Definition of variable (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that changes or can be changed
2 : a symbol (as x or *) used in mathematics in the place of a numeral : placeholder

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variable

adjective
vari·​able | \ ˈver-ē-ə-bəl, ˈvar- How to pronounce variable (audio) \

Medical Definition of variable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : able or apt to vary : subject to variation or changes allergy is perhaps the most variable of all diseases— H. G. Rapaport & Shirley Linde
2 : characterized by variations
3 : not true to type : aberrant used of a biological group or character

Other Words from variable

variability \ ˌver-​ē-​ə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē, ˌvar-​ How to pronounce variability (audio) \ noun, plural variabilities

variable

noun

Medical Definition of variable (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is variable

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Comments on variable

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