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

Read More Last man standing from Panthers' 'shop-hungry' draft knows what must happen next Breakout candidate Jackson is cocksure, versatile and athletic. Jourdan Rodrigue, charlotteobserver, "Most exciting position battle at Panthers' 2018 training camp fueled by competition," 11 July 2018 To help welcome him to Cincinnati, one of America’s finest and most versatile ensembles, The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will be joining the Maestro on stage for this once in a lifetime performance., "See Andrea Bocelli in Concert," 12 June 2018 At 6-foot-10, 215 pounds, Igiehon can be a versatile college player, though his bread and butter will be running the floor, rebounding and blocking shots. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "3 prospects who could help Louisville basketball's 2019 signing class," 11 July 2018 Vazquez is a versatile player, with his passing range and dribbling skills being his key assets., "New West Ham United Boss Manuel Pellegrini Confident of Securing Signature for Argentine Playmaker," 9 July 2018 The more versatile defensive players the Kings have, the better for the team come the regular season. Jason Jones, sacbee, "Harry Giles made his Kings debut during the California Classic. Here's how he fared," 2 July 2018 The LSU Athletic Hall of Fame Committee has unanimously approved the jersey retirement of the West Monroe native, arguably the most versatile player in LSU history. Ron Higgins,, "Jerry Stovall to have his No. 21 LSU football jersey retired," 8 May 2018 If one of Saban's favorite, most versatile players slips to 11, look for Gase to scoop him up. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "Draft experts made their cases for who the Dolphins should take at 11. Results vary | Miami Herald," 25 Apr. 2018 The Atlanta Falcons kept one of the most versatile players on their defense by agreeing to a one-year contract with safety/linebacker Kemal Ishmael., "Rhode Island promotes David Cox to men’s basketball coach," 5 Apr. 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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Statistics for versatile

Last Updated

19 Oct 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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Comments on versatile

What made you want to look up versatile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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