Definition of labile in English:



  • 1Liable to change; easily altered.

    ‘persons whose blood pressure is more labile will carry an enhanced risk of heart attack’
    ‘we may be the most labile culture in all history’
    unpredictable, inconsistent, changeable, variable, inconstant, uncertain, irregular, unstable, turbulent, unsteady, unsettled, unreliable, undependable, changing, ever-changing, volatile, varying, shifting, fluctuating, fluid, mutable, protean, fitful, wavering, full of ups and downs
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    1. 1.1 Of or characterized by emotions which are easily aroused, freely expressed, and tend to alter quickly and spontaneously.
      ‘mood seemed generally appropriate, but the patient was often labile’
      • ‘An illustrative case is a 29-year-old clerical worker in England noted to be depressed, emotionally labile and socially withdrawn.’
      • ‘He experienced labile mood, irritability, and ‘a racing heart’.’
      • ‘She may be labile and inconsistent, expressing strong emotions of various types without any solid reason.’
      • ‘Objectively, he is emotionally labile and becomes jittery and nervous when discussing the ring.’
      • ‘Only emotionally labile noncompliance was a significant predictor of peer rejection.’
      evaporative, vaporous, vaporescent
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    2. 1.2Chemistry Easily broken down or displaced.
      ‘the breakage of labile bonds’
      in combination ‘a heat-labile protein’
      • ‘A new class of thermally labile compounds having rust inhibiting properties is disclosed and claimed.’
      • ‘We know that elements are labile things, which is why lead water pipes and lead-based paints are no longer manufactured, and why aluminium cooking utensils are (rightly or wrongly) accused on suspicion of causing dementia.’
      • ‘This is consistent with perceptions that lipids are more labile than nonlipids.’
      • ‘The chemical exchange of labile deuterons was measured as described previously, using an inversion-transfer technique.’
      • ‘However, water stress interacting with CO2 enhanced the shift of the carbon from the labile pool to recalcitrant pool.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘liable to err or sin’): from late Latin labilis, from labi ‘to fall’.