Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Mercurial

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The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is mercurial. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Mercurial means “changing often” or “characterized by rapid and unpredictable changeableness of mood.” It can also mean “having qualities of eloquence, ingenuity, or thievishness attributed to the god Mercury or to the influence of the planet Mercury.”

// The boss has a mercurial temperament when at jobsites but she was relaxed and happy at the company picnic.

// The iconic brand has somehow always managed to maintain its esteemed position in the mercurial fashion world.

MERCURIAL in Context

“But Cabrera was the definition of mercurial. He might be yelling at the top of his lungs, playfully arguing with a teammate, then quickly turn sullen when approached by a reporter.” — Carlos Monarrez, The Detroit Free Press, 26 Apr. 2022

Did You Know?

The Roman god Mercury was the messenger and herald of the gods and also the god of merchants and thieves (his counterpart in Greek mythology is Hermes). He was noted for his eloquence, swiftness, and cunning, and the Romans named what appeared to them to be the fastest-moving planet in his honor. Mercurial comes from the Latin adjective mercurialis, meaning “of or relating to Mercury.”

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