Definition of volatile in English:

volatile

Line breaks: vola|tile
Pronunciation: /ˈvɒlətʌɪl
 
/

adjective

1(Of a substance) easily evaporated at normal temperatures: volatile solvents such as petroleum ether, hexane, and benzene
More example sentences
  • Other substances used in volatile substance abuse are solvents, which comprise one of the other areas the Minister wants examined.
  • Even small amounts of gasoline or other volatile fuels or solvents mixed with kerosene can substantially increase the risk of a fire or an explosion.
  • In fact, all volatile substances are potentially narcotics.
Synonyms
evaporative, vaporous, vaporescent;
explosive, eruptive, inflammable;
unstable
technical labile
2Liable to change rapidly and unpredictably, especially for the worse: the political situation was becoming more volatile
More example sentences
  • Nevertheless, the upside from oil prices is offset by their future unpredictability, with the volatile movements of this one global commodity determining how earnings may change.
  • As ordinary life becomes more volatile, insecure and unpredictable in various ways, people search for security in whatever ways they can muster.
  • The challenging nature of this scenario reflects the unpredictable and volatile world we live in, as well as the nature of our job.
Synonyms
tense, strained, fraught, uneasy, uncomfortable, charged, explosive, eruptive, inflammatory, turbulent, in turmoil, full of upheavals
informal hairy, nail-biting, white-knuckle
British informal dodgy
2.1(Of a person) liable to display rapid changes of emotion: a passionate, volatile young man
More example sentences
  • Born in 1626 in Smyrna, Turkey, he was by all accounts a brilliant, charismatic if emotionally volatile man.
  • He may exercise professional restraint but in his formative years he was used to exhibiting a more volatile personality.
  • But this club, which has a strong lineup, improved rotation and deeper bullpen, is full of sometimes volatile personalities.
Synonyms
mercurial, capricious, whimsical, fickle, flighty, giddy, impulsive, wayward, temperamental, highly strung, excitable, emotional, overemotional, fiery, moody, choleric, stormy, tempestuous, volcanic
technical labile
3(Of a computer’s memory) retaining data only as long as there is a power supply connected.
More example sentences
  • When a compromised system is powered off, important information or evidence stored in volatile memory may be lost.
  • It just so happens that adding charge is one of the requirements of volatile memory, like DRAM.
  • These attacks attempt to gain access to the secrets stored in volatile and non-volatile memories.

noun

(usually volatiles) Back to top  
A volatile substance.
More example sentences
  • Methyl acetate had the highest mean peak height of the selected volatiles, followed by acetic acid and then acetaldehyde.
  • Although the RAS gave off higher concentrations of volatiles than those measured in the nosespace analysis, the ratios of flavour compounds were similar.
  • Several chemical techniques will detect explosives or their volatiles even at the trace levels found in and above the soil where they are buried.

Origin

Middle English (in the sense 'creature that flies', also, as a collective, 'birds'): from Old French volatil or Latin volatilis, from volare 'to fly'.

Derivatives

volatility

Pronunciation: /-ˈtɪlɪti/
noun
More example sentences
  • This separation creates the potential for high financial volatility at the same time as sluggish economic growth.
  • Hedge funds are often named as the culprits when financial markets go through periods of volatility.
  • We live in an age of unprecedented voter volatility, where political attitudes can be transformed overnight.

Definition of volatile in:

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