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 versatile (audio) , -​ˌtī(-​ə)l-​lē \ adverb
versatileness \ ˈvər-​sə-​tᵊl-​nəs How to pronounce versatile (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 This kit, though expensive, makes the potent and astonishingly versatile GSR18V more than a woodworking tool. The Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Gear of the Year: The Best Products We Tested in 2020," 29 Dec. 2020 But unlike the tiny, cropped cardigans of yesteryear, 2020’s iteration is chic and versatile. Eliza Huber,, "2020’s Most Popular Trends Were As Peculiar As The Year Itself," 24 Dec. 2020 Comfortable, layerable, and super versatile, basics are the unsung heroes of your travel wardrobe. Jane Sung, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Wardrobe Staples We Take On Every Trip," 23 Dec. 2020 Led by quarterback Matt Corral and versatile running back Jerrion Ealy, the Rebel offense ranks first in the SEC and all other Power Five conferences, trailing only Kent State and UCF nationally. Mark Heim |, al, "LSU-Ole Miss live stream (12/19): How to watch Kiffin vs. Orgeron online, TV, time," 19 Dec. 2020 To cover up for the dip in defense, Donovan surrounded him with big and versatile wing players such as Hutchison, Porter and Williams, who all are capable of playing positions 2 through 4. Jamal Collier,, "3 takeaways from the Chicago Bulls’ 105-103 comeback win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in their preseason finale, including Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen coming up big," 19 Dec. 2020 For many cooks, the sauce is a basic and versatile template that invites experimentation. New York Times, "The Most Valuable Condiment of 2020: Salsa Macha," 16 Dec. 2020 Porter proved a savvy and versatile campaigner — skills that could help in a possible run for statewide office. Mark Z. Barabak Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "News Analysis: Side-by-side races in Orange County frame Democrats’ debate," 16 Dec. 2020 An elegant, ironic and versatile actress who pioneered female comic roles in Italy’s post-war years and helped the nation laugh at its foibles. Anchorage Daily News, "Final goodbye: Recalling influential people who died in 2020," 8 Dec. 2020

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

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Versatile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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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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