variable

1 of 2

adjective

var·​i·​able ˈver-ē-ə-bəl How to pronounce variable (audio)
1
a
: 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
variability noun
variableness noun
variably adverb

variable

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: a quantity that may assume any one of a set of values
b
: a symbol representing a variable
2
a
: something that is variable
b
: a factor in a scientific experiment that may be subject to change
3

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The remainder – three-quarters of the sample of American workers born in the 1960s – worked variable hours. Ronnie Cohen, NPR, 16 Apr. 2024 The stores rely on surplus inventory, product overruns, packaging changes and other variable circumstances for inventory and pricing. Jenn Harris, Los Angeles Times, 15 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for variable 

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

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

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Noun

1816, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near variable

Cite this Entry

“Variable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/variable. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

variable

1 of 2 adjective
vari·​able
ˈver-ē-ə-bəl,
ˈvar-
1
: able to change : likely to be changed
variable winds
2
: having the characteristics of a variable
3
: not true to the usual or normal type
a variable species of wheat
variability noun
variableness
ˈver-ē-ə-bəl-nəs
ˈvar-
noun
variably
-blē
adverb

variable

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: a quantity that may take on any one of a set of values
b
: a mathematical symbol representing a variable
2
: something that is variable
3
: a factor in a scientific experiment that may be subject to change
controlled all variables except temperature

Medical Definition

variable

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

variable

2 of 2 noun
: something that is variable

More from Merriam-Webster on variable

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