Wednesday Word for January 1, 2020

Today’s words come from First Reader.

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Today’s Word

Part of Speech

adjective

Definition

  1. Characterized by rapid and unpredictable changeableness of mood.
  2. Animated; lively; sprightly; quick-witted.
  3. Of, relating to, containing, or caused by mercury.

History

The Roman god Mercury (“Mercurius” in Latin) 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. The Latin adjective derived from his name, mercurialis, meaning “of or relating to Mercury,” was borrowed into English in the 14th century as “mercurial.” Although the adjective initially meant “born under the planet Mercury,” it came to mean also “having qualities of eloquence, ingenuity, or thievishness attributed to the god Mercury or the influence of the planet Mercury,” and then “unpredictably changeable.”

~Mercurial | Definition of Mercurial by Merriam-Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mercurial

Usage and Examples

Here are a few examples:

  1. Jared’s mercurial temper made relationships difficult.
  2. Shawna’s mercurial play style kept the defenders guessing.

Synonyms

changeable, fickle, temperamental

Antonyms

certain, immutable, predictable

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