[[t]vɒ̱lətaɪl, AM -t(ə)l[/t]]
1) ADJ-GRADED A situation that is volatile is likely to change suddenly and unexpectedly.

There have been riots before and the situation is volatile...

The international oil markets have been highly volatile since the early 1970s...

Armed soldiers guard the streets in this volatile atmosphere.

Derived words:
volatility [[t]vɒ̱lətɪ̱lɪti[/t]] N-UNCOUNT

He is keen to see a general reduction in arms sales given the volatility of the region.

...current stock market volatility.

2) ADJ-GRADED If someone is volatile, their mood often changes quickly.

He accompanied the volatile actress to Hollywood the following year...

He has a volatile temper.

3) ADJ-GRADED A volatile liquid or substance is one that will quickly change into a gas. [TECHNICAL]

It's thought that the blast occurred when volatile chemicals exploded.

English dictionary. 2008.

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  • Volatile — may refer to: Chemistry Volatility (chemistry), a measure of the tendency of a substance to vaporize Relative volatility, a measure of vapor pressures of the components in a liquid mixture Volatiles, a group of compounds with low boiling points… …   Wikipedia

  • Volatile — Vol a*tile, a. [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.] [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Volatile — kommt aus dem englischen Sprachraum und bedeutet dort etwa: veränderlich, beweglich, flüchtig. Das Wort wird als Fachausdruck auch im deutschen Sprachraum verwendet: Im Aktienhandel für veränderliche Werte oder als Maß des Risikos einer Aktie,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • volatile — [väl′ə təl; ] chiefly Brit [, väl′ətīl΄] adj. [MFr < L volatilis < volare, to fly] 1. Obs. flying or able to fly; volitant 2. vaporizing or evaporating quickly, as alcohol 3. a) likely to shift quickly and unpredictably; unstable; explosive …   English World dictionary

  • Volatile — Vol a*tile, n. [Cf. F. volatile.] A winged animal; wild fowl; game. [Obs.] Chaucer. Sir T. Browne. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • volatile — (adj.) 1590s fine or light, also evaporating rapidly (c.1600), from M.Fr. volatile, from L. volatilis fleeting, transitory, flying, from pp. stem of volare to fly, of unknown origin. Sense of readily changing, fickle is first recorded 1640s.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • volatile — ► ADJECTIVE 1) (of a substance) easily evaporated at normal temperatures. 2) liable to change rapidly and unpredictably, especially for the worse. ► NOUN ▪ a volatile substance. DERIVATIVES volatility noun volatilize (also volatilise) verb …   English terms dictionary

  • volatile — I adjective active, animated, brief, brisk, buoyant, capricious, changeable, cometary, deciduous, desultory, effervescent, elastic, elusive, ephemeral, erratic, evanescent, evaporable, excitable, explosive, fickle, fleeting, flighty, full of… …   Law dictionary

  • volatile — /vo latile/ [dal lat. volatĭlis, der. di volare ]. ■ agg. 1. (non com.) [che vola, capace di volare] ▶◀ [➨ volante1 agg. (1)]. 2. (chim.) [di liquido o solido che tende a vaporizzare facilmente: sostanze v. ] ▶◀ ‖ evaporabile …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • volatile — effervescent, buoyant, expansive, resilient, *elastic Analogous words: unstable, mercurial, *inconstant, fickle, capricious: light minded, frivolous, flippant, flighty (see corresponding nouns at LIGHTNESS): variable, *changeable, protean …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • volatile — [adj] explosive, changeable airy, buoyant, capricious, effervescent, elastic, elusive, ephemeral, erratic, expansive, fickle, fleeting, flighty, flippant, frivolous, fugacious, fugitive, gaseous, gay, giddy, impermanent, imponderable,… …   New thesaurus

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