Definition of quicksilver in English:

quicksilver

noun

mass noun
  • 1The liquid metal mercury.

    • ‘California exported nearly all its silver to Asian markets, as well as much of its quicksilver [mercury], which was a key new element in improving the extraction of precious metals from ore.’
    • ‘By increasing the amount of mercury allowed in coal-fired power plant emissions, he will ensure that every fish in every Great Lake contains unsafe levels of quicksilver.’
    • ‘It is the secret, the mystery of quicksilver, that a metal of such enormous density can yet remain liquid.’
    • ‘Mercury has long been known also by the name quicksilver, because it is a silver liquid.’
    • ‘Quacks or quack salvers are named from quicksilver ointment peddlers who treated syphilis in the 16th century.’
    • ‘Kepler noted with satisfaction that it would be appropriate to correlate the sun with gold, the density of which is greater than that of quicksilver.’
    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
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1as modifier Moving or changing rapidly and unpredictably.
      ‘his quicksilver wit’
      • ‘What is clear, however, is that his latest, slim book is written in the same spirit as his partly fabricated biography of Thomas Griffiths Wanewright, one of the most quicksilver characters in the circle around John Keats.’
      • ‘Occasionally Hautzinger drops to muted valve clicks and Derek riffs with him, as on the quicksilver interplay of ‘The Vietnamese Driver’.’
      • ‘They view political power as a quicksilver that is always everywhere at once in society, and therefore nowhere in particular.’
      • ‘And another quicksilver attack saw Carlton cross for the rapidly arriving Twiss - but Uberschar deflected his shot for a corner.’
      • ‘Money was like quicksilver - hard to get a hold of and harder yet to keep in hand.’
      • ‘Tex Avery had wit, quicksilver charm, and near-boundless inventive genius.’
      • ‘What she made present to the audience was a quicksilver mind as well as a radiant body.’
      • ‘But Hall's business was in the quicksilver world of ideas.’
      • ‘The dancing has to match the play's quicksilver banter, step for step, with skill and style.’
      • ‘Drop your guard for a moment, and your hard-won gains slip like quicksilver from your grasp, leaving a muscle group to lag behind others or your rock-hard density to melt.’
      • ‘The piano bench remains unoccupied as the instrument's keys appear to be struck by the quicksilver fingers of four absent hands - perhaps those of Isenstein and her sidekick.’
      • ‘Yao Wei - a new ensemble member from Shanghai - entered like a quicksilver breeze, tenuously anchored to earth by beautifully arched feet.’
      • ‘But he has struggled to live up to that quicksilver performance and has made only limited appearances in the first team squad.’
      • ‘More impressive still is his quicksilver dexterity in following the ever-changing contours of Sibelius' form.’
      • ‘In 1972, he gave a dazzling, quicksilver performance as an English aristocrat who believes himself to be the Messiah in The Ruling Class.’
      • ‘If one ventures to wonder whether Haitink has the quicksilver mind necessary for Mozart, it is only because his Verdi and Wagner were superlative.’
      • ‘The achievement is palpable: the quicksilver movements of fish, the movement of water and the play of light through it, the interior of a whale's mouth.’
      • ‘Lloyd's tenor is luxuriously rich throughout; sticking mostly to the upper register of the horn and peppering his phrases with sweet quicksilver flurries, he makes a beautiful noise.’
      • ‘Mears, a quicksilver defender, made his debut as a replacement in the win over Nottingham Forest at Maine Road and will be another under Keegan's gaze.’
      • ‘His enthusiasm was as legendary as his quicksilver movement from one scientific interest to another.’
      • ‘But he is an immensely gifted comic, with a quicksilver imagination which is like a video player permanently jammed in fast-forward.’
      • ‘Even if he danced at his best, he could not display the same quicksilver in jumps and polished tours, and his presence was less compelling and majestic.’
      • ‘There's another way that planning has changed in this quicksilver world of business: it has become a more continuous process rather than an annual or a semiannual review.’
      • ‘Only the lizards seemed charmed by the sun, sliding like quicksilver among the crannies in the walls.’
      • ‘Her quicksilver changes of intent, complex multiple qualities, polyrhythms, and opposing body parts warred with Anderson's weeping strings to create a moving picture of grief.’
      • ‘Instead, more interest is shown in offshore locales like Bermuda, Ireland, Switzerland or Hong Kong, where governments work hard to make themselves attractive to quicksilver capital.’
      • ‘But she's not just an exceptional actress; her dry Aussie wit is a godsend in an industry choked with airheads, and her quicksilver intelligence animates her luminous beauty.’
      • ‘Although Merlis' prose remains as fluid as quicksilver, the narrative thrust progressively dwindles as Joel's quixotic journey nears its end.’
      • ‘Robert Martin whipped in a shot from the right wing and quicksilver forward Fabio Cretaro, who darted with menace, diverted the sliothar past Mayo's net-minder Michael Walsh.’
      • ‘There's a lightness of touch and a melodic freedom that's fairly jazzy, especially in guitarist Jay Berliner's quicksilver leads, an echo of his work with Mingus on The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady.’
      • ‘Sinead Cusack also brings the right qualities to Cleopatra: quicksilver energy, boundless curiosity and emotional volatility.’
      • ‘Ed Blackwell plays it straight for the most part, with only occasional flashes of the quicksilver rhythmic trickery he excelled at.’
      • ‘Indeed, it was only neat work from Sauzee in the 20th minute which brought to an end a quicksilver run from the youngster as he glided past three Hibs men towards goal.’
      • ‘Much depends on the form of Ajax's quicksilver striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, so Swedes will hope that he actually makes it to Portugal.’
      • ‘The staff are pure class, the martini's pure quicksilver - immaculate.’
      • ‘The mind goes like quicksilver to the simple solution to a case and it would have seemed to me that the issue in this case is a very simple one.’
      • ‘Those environmentally-conscious Australians have extracted the chlorine from this quicksilver Olympic pool, so one of the most drug - scarred sports has even less chance of washing itself clean.’
      • ‘The music of Chopin is like quicksilver to the ear; Beethoven is moonlight and butterflies for the soul.’
      • ‘And yet one reason that Picasso became an emblematic artist was that his chaotic inner life was a kind of cultural quicksilver, spilling outward to reflect larger social themes.’
      • ‘And then, like quicksilver, the New York Times editor who vowed to stay was gone.’
      changeable, changing, variable, varying, inconstant, inconsistent, ever-changing, erratic, unstable, unsteady, shifting, fluid, undependable, unreliable, uncertain, unpredictable, mercurial, quicksilver, kaleidoscopic, chameleon-like
      View synonyms

Pronunciation

quicksilver

/ˈkwɪksɪlvə/