There are 2 main definitions of mobile in English:

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mobile 1

Pronunciation: /ˈməʊbʌɪl/


1Able to move or be moved freely or easily: he has a weight problem and is not very mobile highly mobile international capital
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  • When mobile international capital escapes taxation, as it increasingly does, it makes social protection much more difficult to pay for.
  • America's ability to attract the capital needed to finance this deficit confirms its hegemonic status as the safest home for mobile international capital.
  • Physiotherapy can help to keep the joints mobile (able to move) and strengthen the surrounding muscles.
able to move, able to move around, moving, walking, ambulant, ambulatory;
lively, sprightly, spry, energetic, vigorous;
Zoology  motile
1.1(Of the face or its features) indicating feelings with fluid and expressive movements: her mobile features worked overtime to register shock and disapproval
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  • So my face is still mobile and expressive, and while it won't ever look 25 again, there is a marked difference.
  • She has expressively mobile features and switches from youthful hope to aged eccentricity with admirable economy.
  • He again raised one delicate eyebrow, a pained expression on his mobile face.
expressive, eloquent, suggestive, meaning, speaking, revealing, telltale, animated, changing, ever-changing
1.2(Of a shop, library, or other service) accommodated in a vehicle so as to travel around and serve various places: a mobile library visits once a fortnight a cup of tea from the mobile canteen
More example sentences
  • The plans also include expanding the mobile library service with two extra vehicles and a big investment in new books, CDs, videos and DVDs.
  • The need for a mobile library has been felt in the residential areas after the District Library Authority suspended its mobile service for various reasons some time back.
  • The latest strategy was devised by officers who looked at the locations and conditions of the council's existing 31 libraries as well as the areas served by its three mobile libraries.
1.3(Of a military or police unit) equipped and prepared to move quickly to any place it is needed: at first the regiment’s role was to act as a mobile reserve
More example sentences
  • The most important way to achieve this, to our mind, is to create highly mobile military units in the Armed Forces.
  • A special mobile police or army unit is being formed, in order to seize and deport foreigners or rejected asylum-seekers living illegally in the country.
  • In the afternoon of 23 March a police officer was on mobile patrol duty in the town centre.
2Relating to mobile phones, handheld computers, and similar technology: the next generation of mobile networks a mobile device
More example sentences
  • The situation has been similar in the mobile market.
  • Analysts are divided regarding future prospects for Vodafone shares, despite a rebound in the share price of the British mobile operator last week.
  • Shareholders also questioned investments in mobile players in developing countries.
3Able or willing to move easily or freely between occupations, places of residence, or social classes: an increasingly mobile society
More example sentences
  • Participants were mobile, averaging 2.2 residences in the past year.
  • The thing is, our high school has a very mobile social ladder.
  • Francis, who was geographically and occupationally mobile, did not attain the same social and economic upward mobility as his brother Paul.
adaptable, flexible, versatile, changing, fluid, moving, on the move, adjustable, transplantable


1A decorative structure that is suspended so as to turn freely in the air: brightly coloured mobiles rotated from the ceiling
More example sentences
  • His characters are so thin they could have been hand painted in a kindergarten and suspended from a mobile.
  • It will be 60 minutes long and will essentially feature characters suspended by a mobile from a crane.
  • A leaf mobile is the perfect decoration for the fall season!
2British A mobile phone: we telephoned from our mobile to theirs
More example sentences
  • The dish is used to connect calls from landline telephones to mobiles and vice versa without the need for cables.
  • It turns out that people who don't have mobiles or fixed landline phones use payphones more than any other group.
  • Also, in an attempt to curb costs, we have our children on pay-as-you-go mobiles rather than account phones.
3 [mass noun] The Internet as accessed via smartphones or other mobile devices, especially when regarded as a market sector: the biggest growth area in games right now is in mobile


upwardly (or downwardly) mobile

Moving to a higher (or lower) social class; acquiring (or losing) wealth and status: the old middle class lost ground to upwardly mobile immigrant groups
More example sentences
  • It's two decades since the great council house sale in the UK but my parents, upwardly mobile working class, bought a house in 1955.
  • Puritan, and Parliamentary, ideas were most popular among the upwardly mobile commercial middle classes.
  • It seems that upwardly mobile social climbers find the snob appeal of double-barrelled names irresistible.


Late 15th century: via French from Latin mobilis, from movere 'to move'. The noun dates from the 1940s.

  • In the 21st century the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word mobile is probably a portable phone. At least that is the case in Britain—in the USA and elsewhere people are more likely to say cellphone. The term mobile phone was first recorded in the USA in 1945, but it was not until the 1980s that the mobile or cellphone became more widely available, and even then it was out of reach of the ordinary person. A 1984 source refers to one ‘available now with a suggested price of $1,995’. The word mobile itself dates in English to the late 15th century and goes back to Latin movere ‘to move’, the source of move. It started to be used of people's ability to move between social levels at the beginning of the 20th century, and a person can now be upwardly mobile or downwardly mobile. In Latin mobile vulgus meant ‘the common people, the fickle crowd’. English adopted the phrase in the late 16th century, and two centuries later shortened it to mobile and then even further to simple mob. This became a term for a gang of criminals in the early 19th century, and in 20th-century America the Mob became an alternative name for the Mafia.

Words that rhyme with mobile


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Line breaks: mo¦bile

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There are 2 main definitions of mobile in English:

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Mobile 2

Pronunciation: /məʊˈbiːl/
An industrial city and port on the coast of southern Alabama; population 191,022 (est. 2008).

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Line breaks: Mo¦bile

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