Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective mercurial differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of mercurial are capricious, fickle, inconstant, and unstable. While all these words mean "lacking firmness or steadiness (as in purpose or devotion)," mercurial implies a rapid changeability in mood.

made anxious by her boss's mercurial temperament

When could capricious be used to replace mercurial?

The words capricious and mercurial can be used in similar contexts, but capricious suggests motivation by sudden whim or fancy and stresses unpredictability.

an utterly capricious critic

When is fickle a more appropriate choice than mercurial?

While in some cases nearly identical to mercurial, fickle suggests unreliability because of perverse changeability and incapacity for steadfastness.

performers discover how fickle fans can be

When is it sensible to use inconstant instead of mercurial?

The synonyms inconstant and mercurial are sometimes interchangeable, but inconstant implies an incapacity for steadiness and an inherent tendency to change.

an inconstant friend

When would unstable be a good substitute for mercurial?

Although the words unstable and mercurial have much in common, unstable implies an incapacity for remaining in a fixed position or steady course and applies especially to a lack of emotional balance.

too unstable to hold a job


Thesaurus Entries Near mercurial

Cite this Entry

“Mercurial.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

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