Definition of mercurial in English:

mercurial

adjective

  • 1Subject to sudden or unpredictable changes of mood or mind.

    ‘his mercurial temperament’
    • ‘Okada projected the mercurial shift of moods in Beethoven's Fantasie Op 77 with resonant sonority.’
    • ‘He is mercurial, unpredictable and headstrong.’
    • ‘Could it be my mercurial temper, causing many rash actions or hurtful, wicked comments?’
    • ‘One of the most talented and versatile Scottish performers, McKidd is mesmerising as Frankie, capturing all the mercurial moods of a man who can switch from sentimentality to aggression at the flick of a switchblade.’
    • ‘To blow off those dear friends who've put up with your mercurial moods for long is just plain cruel and thoughtless, so start returning those calls and those emails.’
    • ‘Their awkwardness, overextended maturity, mercurial temperaments, and easy companionship were all spot on.’
    • ‘Ms Short is notorious for her outspoken comments and her mercurial temperament.’
    • ‘Nor does she depict adolescence as a period of mental instability, characterized by mercurial moods and impulsive, self-gratifying actions.’
    • ‘During his four years in office, Mr. Chen has proven to be a mercurial and unpredictable leader.’
    • ‘He grinned briefly in a mercurial change of mood.’
    • ‘Mrs. Lincoln became known as much for her fashion sense as her mercurial temperament and place in history.’
    • ‘Rhea's temperament was infamously mercurial - one would never know what she was thinking, or when she might strike.’
    • ‘Jim's mind is mercurial, but I like his company more than anything.’
    • ‘He then embarked upon a legal career which was characterised by often brilliant legal exposition, and mercurial temperament.’
    • ‘The mercurial singer-songwriter's mood is as unpredictable as Halifax weather and each night's performance lives and dies on which attitude the capricious star brings to the rink.’
    • ‘At times you feel frustrated with Ellie and her mercurial temperament.’
    • ‘He had a mercurial temperament and was never one to hold back his views, even in the face of opposition.’
    • ‘No decision of importance could be made without the chairman, and he was mercurial, often changing his mind once a decision had been made.’
    • ‘Regardless of her mercurial mood, he always managed to stay gentle with her.’
    • ‘In a mercurial change of temper, he grabbed her shoulders and shook her, once, twice.’
    volatile, capricious, temperamental, excitable, fickle, changeable, unpredictable, variable, protean, mutable, erratic, quicksilver, inconstant, inconsistent, unstable, unsteady, fluctuating, ever-changing, kaleidoscopic, fluid, wavering, vacillating, moody, flighty, wayward, whimsical, giddy, impulsive
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  • 2Of or containing the element mercury.

    ‘gels containing organic mercurial compounds’
    • ‘Everyone is wise to the mercury dangers in paints, but patients need to know that button batteries, mercurial antiseptics and broken thermometers are sources of mercury.’
    • ‘I shuffled off to where he'd pointed, feeling a cold bar of mercurial metal, like in thermometers, stretch from the first bone of my chest, and settling into the pit of my stomach.’
    • ‘Over the years, researchers provided Eli Lilly with numerous articles indicating the hazards of injecting humans with mercurial substances such as thimerosal.’
    • ‘These mercurial chemicals are never taken lightly.’
    • ‘The condensation beading on it gave it a mercurial sheen.’
    • ‘And don't forget ‘liquid metal,’ dynamically controlled mercurial globs you can push around on your canvas.’
    • ‘In acute LV failure with pulmonary edema, phlebotomy, rotating tourniquets, and parenteral mercurial diuretics were effective.’
    • ‘To determine the extent to which mercury-sensitive water channels are involved in the control of root water flow, mercurial inhibition of root water flow was also examined using a pressure-flux approach.’
    • ‘The mercurial bromide was re-extracted and analyzed by capillary gas chromatography/electron capture detector, using an internal standard for quantification.’
    • ‘Mercury amalgams are used in dentistry, and mercurial aids such as the thermometer and blood pressure apparatus aid the doctor.’
    • ‘This research is an effort to create an awareness. of the potential hazards of some Chinese patent medicines which contain mercurial ingredients.’
    • ‘Brownish-black may indicate chronic mercurial poisoning caused by the formation of sulfide of mercury in the tissues.’
  • 3Of the planet Mercury.

    • ‘Every person, by his own astrological make up will have a Mercurial connection with the transpersonal plants, either by aspect or sign rulership.’
    • ‘Modern authors also note the Mercurial influence.’
    • ‘The odour of Mercurial herbs is described as ‘highly subtle and penetrating, refreshing to the heart and brain.’’
    • ‘The Ascendant to quintile Mercury suggests that he ‘should now have rectified his books of accounts and receive much benefit from Mercurial men’.’
    • ‘Tejat and Dirah are both located in the left foot of Pollux, so traditionally share the Mercurial / Venus nature.’
    • ‘I'm not saying those turning points are punctuated by Mercurial storms like I was some Greek hero or something.’
    • ‘As for Venus, the dates of Mercurial transits are spaced by six months: they all fall within a few days of May 8 and November 10.’
    • ‘The agate stones have a very earthy, grounding influence, which can be invaluable to the Mercurial personality.’
    • ‘Uranian mind-vibes can sometimes get Mercurial Virgos overwrought and on edge.’

noun

  • A drug or other compound containing mercury.

    ‘for twenty years organic mercurials were the most potent diuretics in clinical use’
    • ‘In refractory HF with anasarca, hyperchloremic acidosis was induced to potentiate the effect of intravenous mercurials.’
    • ‘Before the cancellation of the volatile mercurials, fungicides for treating seed were generally classified as volatile and non-volatile.’
    • ‘Results from experiments with mercurials must be viewed with caution because mercury also blocks the pores of other transmembrane proteins, some of which are involved in ion transport.’
    • ‘Special multiwall or tightly woven bags are recommended for seed that has been treated with mercurials or similarly toxic substances.’
    • ‘A few attempts have been made to demonstrate the action of water channels in roots such as by closing them with mercurials.’
    • ‘In rice seedlings, the application of mercurials had an effect on whole plant conductance only when plants were water stressed by the presence of polyethylene glycol, but not in control growth conditions.’
    • ‘None of the subjects had a history of occupational exposure to Hg and mercurials, symptoms resulting from disorders of the digestive system, amalgam fillings, or experienced digestive-system surgery.’
    • ‘Inhibition of water flow by mercurials in membrane vesicles, individual root cells and whole root systems points to the importance of aquaporins in the regulation of water flow through root systems.’

Origin

Late Middle English (in mercurial (sense 3 of the adjective)): from Latin mercurialis ‘relating to the god Mercury’, from Mercurius ‘Mercury’. mercurial (sense 1 of the adjective) dates from the mid 17th century.

Pronunciation

mercurial

/məːˈkjʊərɪəl/