ver·​sa·​tile | \ˈvər-sə-tᵊl, especially British -ˌtī(-ə)l \

Definition of versatile 

1 : embracing a variety of subjects, fields, or skills also : turning with ease from one thing to another

2 : having many uses or applications versatile building material

3 : changing or fluctuating readily : variable a versatile disposition

4a(1) : capable of turning forward or backward : reversible a versatile toe of a bird

(2) : capable of moving laterally and up and down versatile antennae

b of an anther : having the filaments attached at or near the middle so as to swing freely

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Other Words from versatile

versatilely \ˈvər-​sə-​tᵊl-​(l)ē, -​ˌtī(-​ə)l-​lē \ adverb
versatileness \ˈvər-​sə-​tᵊl-​nəs, -​ˌtī(-​ə)l-​nəs \ noun

Examples of versatile in a Sentence

Horses stand apart because of their versatile roles in human society, which came to include dairy production, transportation, haulage, plowing, sports, warfare, religion, and status. — Sandra L. Olsen, Natural History, May 2008 Linemen have to be nimble, corners physical and linebackers versatile. — Peter King, Sports Illustrated, 22 Dec. 2008 Adobos are the Philippines' most beloved, and most versatile, dishes. They consist of meat, poultry, fish, or vegetables (such as okra and eggplant) slow-cooked in an aromatic broth of vinegar or coconut milk, garlic, black pepper, bay leaves, and, sometimes, soy sauce until virtually all the liquid has evaporated. — Amy Besa, Saveur, December 2008 This year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to three scientists for their work on a versatile strategy for synthesizing all manner of novel chemical compounds in an environmentally friendly way.  … The three scientists focused on a reaction called metathesis … — A. Cunningham, Science News, 15 Oct. 2005 Within weeks [Gerd] Binnig, then 38 and with an infant daughter, worked with a colleague to build a prototype for what has become one of the most versatile scientific tools ever created: the atomic force microscope, or AFM. — Ivan Amato, Fortune, 14 June 2004 She is a versatile athlete who participates in many different sports. A pocketknife is a versatile tool.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Ikats’ bold geometric shapes are softer than contemporary geometric patterns and therefore more versatile. Elizabeth Anne Hartman, WSJ, "The Best Interior-Design Books to Give as Holiday Presents," 5 Dec. 2018 Better yet, because each browser was unique under the hood, the squabbling trio ensured that the infrastructure of the internet remained open and versatile. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Google Chrome Is Poised to Swallow the Whole Internet," 4 Dec. 2018 But while the piece is unquestionably classic and versatile, one question remains: Can the turtleneck ever be sexyfied? Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Kylie Jenner Makes the Case for a Sexy Turtleneck," 1 Dec. 2018 Platform beds are a stylish and versatile option that can support both your mattress and your aesthetic. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Everything You Need to Know About Platform Beds," 21 Nov. 2018 Mikael Schulz The thing no one wants to say about the trusty, versatile, eternally chic LBD is that a close synonym is boring. Leah Melby Clinton, Marie Claire, "How to Make Your Boring LBD Feel New Again," 16 Nov. 2018 Tiny and versatile, these one-time-use candles create a beautiful, soft ambiance within a room while burning for up to two hours. Kaitlin Clark, Curbed, "A beginner’s guide to decorating with candles," 23 July 2018 Turned loose by Memphis during games in Utah and Vegas, Jackson showcased himself as a legitimate set-shooting threat and a versatile, imposing defensive presence. Jeremy Woo,, "Rookie Report Cards: The Most Noteworthy Summer League Showings," 11 July 2018 Despite a few quirks, the Suunto 3 Fitness is an excellent and versatile sports watch for the fun-loving outdoors-person. Josie Colt, WIRED, "All the Gear, Gadgets, and Apps We Loved in May," 31 May 2018

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

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for versatile

borrowed from Latin versātilis "able to turn, operated by turning, capable of turning to different tasks," from versāre "to keep turning" (frequentative of vertere "to turn") + -tilis, suffix with the sense "characterized by, obtained by" — more at worth entry 1

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Learn More about versatile

Statistics for versatile

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for versatile

The first known use of versatile was in 1605

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More Definitions for versatile



English Language Learners Definition of versatile

: able to do many different things

: having many different uses


ver·​sa·​tile | \ˈvər-sə-tᵊl \

Kids Definition of versatile

1 : able to do many different kinds of things

2 : having many uses a versatile tool

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