ver·​sa·​tile | \ ˈvər-sə-tᵊl How to pronounce versatile (audio) , especially British -ˌtī(-ə)l How to pronounce versatile (audio) \

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 How to pronounce versatilely (audio) , -​ˌtī(-​ə)l-​lē \ adverb
versatileness \ ˈvər-​sə-​tᵊl-​nəs How to pronounce versatileness (audio) , -​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 The versatile guard played 17 games for the Fever before getting shut down Aug. 14 to undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair meniscus damage in her left knee. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "How are the Indiana Fever players faring overseas?," 7 Jan. 2020 John Hannah, guard, 1973-85 The Patriots drafted the versatile guard out of Alabama with the fourth pick in 1973., "Bill Belichick, coach, 1991-present," 26 Dec. 2019 Reservoir is the ideal home for someone as versatile as Sam, given the strength of our Creative offices in LA, New York, London, and Nashville. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, "Publishing Briefs: Dean Lewis Signs With Kobalt, Davide Rossi Joins Peermusic & More," 19 Dec. 2019 Freshman guard Jahmi'us Ramsey is the team's leading scorer at 17.3 points per game and plays a versatile role for the Red Raiders. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "How to watch Louisville basketball face Texas Tech in New York — and what to watch for," 10 Dec. 2019 Huntington-Whiteley shared some chic behind-the-scenes snaps from the #REVOLVEawards on Instagram, proving that her dress is even versatile as office wear. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's Faux Leather Dress Has a Dangerously High Slit," 17 Nov. 2019 The two four-star prospects both signed their letters of intent Wednesday, giving Izzo a versatile guard and a lengthy post player for 2020. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State basketball signs two 4-star players who 'definitely want to be here'," 13 Nov. 2019 The old jet was as versatile as the F-35, capable of both air to air and air to ground missions. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Like a Ghost, the Iconic F-4 Phantom is Slowly Fading Away," 13 Nov. 2019 Patterson provides plenty of perimeter potential and is a versatile combo guard who should see immediate minutes. Emily Caron,, "N'Faly Dante Shores Up Oregon's Interior as Ducks Aim to Make Another Run," 26 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for versatile

Time Traveler

The first known use of versatile was in 1605

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Statistics for versatile

Last Updated

26 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Versatile.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for versatile


How to pronounce versatile (audio) How to pronounce versatile (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of versatile

: able to do many different things
: having many different uses


ver·​sa·​tile | \ ˈvər-sə-tᵊl How to pronounce versatile (audio) \

Kids Definition of versatile

1 : able to do many different kinds of things
2 : having many uses a versatile tool

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Comments on versatile

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