Word of the day

The word for today is…

mercurial (adj) – 1. (often Mercurial)
(a) (Roman Mythology) Of or relating to the god Mercury.
(b) (Astronomy) Of or relating to the planet Mercury.
2. Having the characteristics of eloquence, shrewdness, swiftness, and thievishness attributed to the god Mercury.
3. Containing or caused by the action of the element mercury.
4. Quick and changeable in temperament; volatile.

(noun) – A pharmacological or chemical preparation containing mercury.

Source : The Free Dictionary

Etymology : The English adjective mercurial ultimately comes from the Latin adjective mercuri?lis ?of or pertaining to Mercurius? (i.e., the god Mercury), whose original function was as god of commerce, transporters of goods (especially of grain), and shopkeepers.

Latin also has the plural noun, derived from the adjective, Mercuri?l?s, the name of a guild of merchants. Mercurius is related to merx (stem merc-) ?goods, wares, commodities? (and the ultimate source of English merchant and merchandise). By classical times Mercury was completely identified with the Greek god Hermes?the messenger of the gods because he was fast-moving, and always on the move, negotiating, fast-talking, making deals, flimflamming, playing tricks.

Mercurius also acquired the meaning ?pertaining to the planet Mercury? (Stella Mercuri?, ?Star of Mercury,? a translation of Greek ast?r to? Hermo?), the fastest moving of the planets. Mercurial entered English in the 14th century in the sense ?pertaining to the planet Mercury.?

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