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 variable (audio) \ noun
variableness \ ˈver-​ē-​ə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce variable (audio) \ noun
variably \ ˈver-​ē-​ə-​blē How to pronounce variable (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 There are more chances of light rain during the evening hours, but the precipitation will be variable, and some areas may not see much. oregonlive, "Portland metro Monday weather: Chances of light rain; high 64," 3 May 2021 Later, Honda would make a continuously variable automatic transmission available as an option on the HX. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "A Visual History of the Honda Civic," 29 Apr. 2021 Some ultrasonic devices claim to repel fleas and other pests, but their effectiveness can be variable. Michael Pollick, chicagotribune.com, "How to get rid of fleas," 18 Apr. 2021 Winds are light and variable, with gusts to around 10 or 15 mph. Washington Post, "PM Update: Remaining warm through Wednesday, with a slight chance of rain at times," 6 Apr. 2021 Some also had chest pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, variable heart rate or blood pressure. New York Times, "They Had Mild Covid. Then Their Serious Symptoms Kicked In.," 23 Mar. 2021 Thursdays highs will top out in the mid 30s with a slight chance of snow showers and freezing drizzle before noon and again after 7 p.m. Winds will be light and variable throughout the day with overnight lows dropping back into the 20s. Mike Rose, cleveland, "Chance of snow showers, freezing drizzle: Northeast Ohio’s Thursday weather forecast (Dec. 17)," 16 Dec. 2020 This variable-speed sander starts at 8,000 OPM and revs up to 12,000 OPM to help attack spots that really need grinding. Popular Science, "Reliable random orbital sanders for your workshop," 9 Oct. 2020 Returning to our short list, this powerful three-in-one machine with variable speed is ideal for the urban gardener. Bob Beacham, chicagotribune.com, "The best leaf blower of 2020," 1 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The corporate tax rate is a key variable to consider when determining how to best manage bonus depreciation. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "What CEOs, CFOs Are Saying About the Prospects of Higher Taxes," 15 Apr. 2021 The value of this additional component of the operation would simply be defined as the time taken to perform one operation on variables up to a maximum limit that is the memory container size for the variable. Fouad Khan, Scientific American, "Confirmed! We Live in a Simulation," 1 Apr. 2021 AG Carinae is a type of star known as a luminous blue variable, a rare and massive type of star that is maintaining a delicate balance to prevent its total destruction. Mike Wehner, BGR, "This star already blew its top, but it’s still here," 25 Apr. 2021 Vaccination is actually more like a single variable in a dynamic playing field—a layer of protection, like an umbrella, that might guard better in some situations than others. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, "Some Vaccinated People Are Going to Get Infected," 19 Mar. 2021 That’s a variable, but even at the low end of sea level rise estimates, costs could be significant. Michael Smolens Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: San Diego’s unstable real estate," 3 Mar. 2021 But the concept of what constitutes an acceptable path to adulthood changed in 2020 due to one highly unexpected variable: a global pandemic. Ian Frisch, Town & Country, "The Gap Year Is an Increasingly Attractive Option," 23 Feb. 2021 Another variable: whether public schools are open and the vaccine widely distributed by the fall, topics that Republicans have begun pushing hard in Virginia and elsewhere. Washington Post, "How blue is Trump’s shadow in Virginia? This year’s governor’s race is already shaping up as a key barometer.," 22 Feb. 2021 One other variable is that King Kong seems to be more popular than Godzilla. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, "‘Godzilla Vs. Kong’ Resurrects Box Office With $49M Debut," 4 Apr. 2021

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

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Variable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/variable. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for variable

variable

adjective

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

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 variable (audio) \ noun, plural variabilities

variable

noun

Medical Definition of variable (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is variable

Comments on variable

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