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 Webster]

2. Capable of wasting away, or of easily passing into the a["e]riform state; subject to evaporation. [1913 Webster]

Note: 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. [1913 Webster]

3. Fig.: Light-hearted; easily affected by circumstances; airy; lively; hence, changeable; fickle; as, a volatile temper. [1913 Webster]

You are as giddy and volatile as ever. --Swift. [1913 Webster]

{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}. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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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 — 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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