volatility

noun
vol·​a·​til·​i·​ty | \ ˌvä-lə-ˈti-lə-tē How to pronounce volatility (audio) \
plural volatilities

Definition of volatility

: the quality or state of being volatile: such as
a : a tendency to change quickly and unpredictably price volatility the volatility of the stock market
b : a tendency to erupt in violence or anger the volatility of the region the volatility of his temper
c : the quality of being readily vaporizable at a fairly low temperature As each component of crude oil has a different relative volatility, they will evaporate at different temperatures.— Martin W. Stockel et al.

Examples of volatility in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Phil Crone, executive officer of the Dallas Builders Association, said local homebuilders are seeing volatility in a number of supply chains that has actually increased prices. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Predictions of big construction cost declines are overblown," 29 June 2020 Still, after the extreme market volatility, investors’ general confidence about their finances and the economy took its deepest quarterly dive in the the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index since its creation in 1996. Berber Jin, Bloomberg.com, "Americans Roughed Up by the Market Still Think Stocks Are Great," 26 June 2020 Fueled by exceptional market volatility, an army of retailer traders and their no-fee apps, options trading is soaring, up 45% year-on-year, the Wall Street Journal reports. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Jumpy investors grapple with a dreaded record-high—in coronavirus cases," 25 June 2020 Despite some initial volatility from mid-March panic-buying and a subsequent short-term drop off, sales have remained steady, if not robust. Alicia Wallace, CNN, "Why more states could legalize cannabis in 2021," 24 June 2020 Some money managers and strategists caution this could point to additional volatility ahead, given that prices have rebounded while expectations for corporate earnings are significantly lower than before the coronavirus. Karen Langley And Anna Hirtenstein, WSJ, "Nasdaq Hits Another Record as Tech Shares Fuel Rally," 23 June 2020 Part of the hardship may stem from the growth in income volatility — needy families generally lack credit or savings to sustain them through delays. Jason Deparle, BostonGlobe.com, "Vast federal aid has capped rise in poverty, studies find," 21 June 2020 Given these realities, investors are recognizing that volatility may be the markets’ only certainty in coming months. Jessica Menton, USA TODAY, "Stocks extend losses as another 1.5M Americans file for unemployment," 19 June 2020 By then, Vietnam veterans had been returning home for years, and many were beset by emotional numbness, volatility, flashbacks, and rage. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "How PTSD went from ‘shell-shock’ to a recognized medical diagnosis," 16 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'volatility.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of volatility

1626, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about volatility

Time Traveler for volatility

Time Traveler

The first known use of volatility was in 1626

See more words from the same year

Statistics for volatility

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Volatility.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volatility. Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on volatility

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for volatility

Spanish Central: Translation of volatility

Nglish: Translation of volatility for Spanish Speakers

Comments on volatility

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!