Word of the Day : August 7, 2018

fungible

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adjective FUN-juh-bul

Definition

1 : being of such a nature that one part or quantity may be replaced by another equal part or quantity in the satisfaction of an obligation

2 : interchangeable

3 : flexible

Did You Know?

Fungible—which derives from the Latin verb fungi, meaning "to perform" (no relation to the noun fungus and its plural fungi)—is a word that often shows up in legal and political contexts. Something fungible can be exchanged for something else of the same kind. For example, when we say "oil is a fungible commodity," we mean that when a purchaser is expecting a delivery of oil, any oil of the stipulated quantity and quality will usually do. Another example of something fungible is cash. It doesn't matter what twenty dollar bill you get—it's still worth the same amount as any other twenty dollar bill. In contrast, something like a work of art isn't fungible; a purchaser would expect a specific, identifiable item to be delivered. In broader use, fungible can mean "interchangeable," or sometimes "readily changeable to adapt to new situations."


Examples

"The good news—in one way of looking at it—is that Sears had significant fungible assets of decent value to raise cash and a more than cozy relationship with a few willing buyers." — Steve Dennis, Forbes.com, 31 May 2018

"The more difficult assessment is that this bizarro environment is a product of our resistance to the idea that our relationships to art and artists can be alive and fungible, that they can change." — Stephen Kearse, Pitchfork, 25 June 2018



Word Family Quiz

Fill in the blanks to complete an adjective derived from Latin fungi (meaning "to perform") that describes things characterized by routine or superficiality: _ e _ f _ n _ to _ _.

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