versatile

adjective
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

André Previn, among the 20th century’s most redoubtable musicians and certainly one of its most versatile, missed two enviable milestones in dying today. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "Andre Previn: Remembering a Versatile Musician," 28 Feb. 2019 With that as the background, the book follows a talented developer is brought on to test a new product, only to be endangered by her versatile (and apparently combat-ready) digital assistant. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "All the science fiction and fantasy books we’re looking forward to in 2019," 30 Dec. 2018 Both are versatile enough to wear even after the calendar changes to January. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Joanna Gaines Just Dropped the Cutest Christmas Collection for Pets at Target," 4 Dec. 2018 Kate Middleton clearly brought a versatile wardrobe with her on her two-day tour of Northern Ireland. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Finishes Off Day One of the Royal Tour of Northern Ireland in a Missoni Dress," 27 Feb. 2019 Another nudge: finding his Romeo in Castille, a versatile Broadway alum in his mid-20s. Misha Berson, The Seattle Times, "Here’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ like you’ve never seen it, with the star-crossed lovers bridging the gap between American Sign Language and English," 20 Feb. 2019 Photo: Gail Burton/Associated Press Further down the food chain, there are veterans like five-time All-Star Adam Jones and three-time All-Star Carlos González, plus versatile threats like Marwin González and Josh Harrison. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Baseball’s All-Unemployed Team," 11 Feb. 2019 From Selena Gomez’s dress and Puma sneaker combo to Chiara Ferragni’s glitzy collab with Converse, our faves have turned the athleisure staple into an amazingly versatile trend. Tess Garcia, Teen Vogue, "Nike Released a Pair of Swarovski-Covered Air Max 97 Shoes," 26 Dec. 2018 Carrying important cargo that is hefty enough to keep my versatile vessel from being able to take off, I’m left with two choices: flee or dump the ballast to turn and fight. Daniel Starkey, Ars Technica, "Starlink: Battle for Atlas review: Cool toys, solid spacefaring," 16 Oct. 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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Last Updated

23 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for versatile

The first known use of versatile was in 1605

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More Definitions for versatile

versatile

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of versatile

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

versatile

adjective
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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