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Webster 1913 Edition


Volatile

Vol′a-tile

,
Adj.
[F.
volatil
, L.
volatilis
, fr.
volare
to fly, perhaps akin to
velox
swift, E.
velocity
. Cf.
Volley
.]
1.
Passing through the air on wings, or by the buoyant force of the atmosphere; flying; having the power to fly.
[Obs.]
2.
Capable of wasting away, or of easily passing into the aeriform state; subject to evaporation.
☞ Substances which affect the smell with pungent or fragrant odors, as musk, hartshorn, and essential oils, are called volatile substances, because they waste away on exposure to the atmosphere. Alcohol and ether are called volatile liquids for a similar reason, and because they easily pass into the state of vapor on the application of heat. On the contrary, gold is a fixed substance, because it does not suffer waste, even when exposed to the heat of a furnace; and oils are called fixed when they do not evaporate on simple exposure to the atmosphere.
3.
Fig.: Light-hearted; easily affected by circumstances; airy; lively; hence, changeable; fickle;
as, a
volatile
temper
.
You are as giddy and
volatile
as ever.
Swift.
Volatile alkali
.
(Old Chem.)
See under
Alkali
.
Volatile liniment
,
a liniment composed of sweet oil and ammonia, so called from the readiness with which the latter evaporates.
Volatile oils
.
(Chem.)
See
Essential oils
, under
Essential
.

Vol′a-tile

,
Noun.
[Cf. F.
volatile
.]
A winged animal; wild fowl; game.
[Obs.]
Chaucer.
Sir T. Browne.

Webster 1828 Edition


Volatile

VOL'ATILE

,
Adj.
[L. volatilis, from volo, to fly.]
1.
Flying; passing through the air on wings, or by the buoyant force of the atmosphere.
2.
Having the power to fly; as birds are volatile animals.
3.
Capable of wasting away, or of easily passing into the aeriform state. Thus substances which affect the smell with pungent or fragrant odors, as musk, hartshorn and essential oils, are called volatile substances, because they waste away on exposure to the atmosphere. Alcohol and ether are called volatile liquids for a similar reason, and because they easily pass into the state of vapor on the application of heat. On the contrary, gold is a fixed substance, because it does not suffer waste even when exposed to the heat of a furnace; and oils are called fixed, when they do not evaporate on simple exposure to the atmosphere.
4.
Lively; gay; full of spirit; airy; hence, fickle; apt to change; as a volatile temper.
You are as giddy and volatile as ever.

VOL'ATILE

,
Noun.
A winged animal. [little used.]

Definition 2022


volatile

volatile

English

Adjective

volatile (comparative more volatile, superlative most volatile)

  1. (physics) evaporating or vaporizing readily under normal conditions.
  2. (of a substance, informal) explosive.
  3. (of a price etc) variable or erratic.
  4. (of a person) quick to become angry or violent.
  5. fickle.
  6. temporary or ephemeral.
  7. (of a situation) potentially violent.
  8. (computing, of a variable) having its associated memory immediately updated with any changes in value.
  9. (computing, of memory) whose content is lost when the computer is powered down
  10. (obsolete) Passing through the air on wings, or by the buoyant force of the atmosphere; flying; having the power to fly.

Synonyms

  • See also Wikisaurus:ephemeral

Derived terms

Translations

Noun

volatile (plural volatiles)

  1. A chemical or compound that changes into a gas easily.

French

Etymology

Borrowing from Latin volātilis (flying). Doublet of volaille.

Adjective

volatile m, f (plural volatiles)

  1. flying, volant

Adjective

volatile

  1. feminine singular of volatil

Noun

volatile m (plural volatiles)

  1. fowl, bird

German

Adjective

volatile

  1. inflected form of volatil

Italian

Adjective

volatile m, f (masculine and feminine plural volatili)

  1. (chemistry, physics) volatile
  2. flying

Synonyms

Noun

volatile m (plural volatili)

  1. bird
  2. fowl

Synonyms


Latin

Adjective

volātile

  1. nominative neuter singular of volātilis
  2. accusative neuter singular of volātilis
  3. vocative neuter singular of volātilis

References