Meaning of VARIABLE in English

I. ˈverēəbəl, ˈva(a)r-, ˈvār- adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin variabilis, from variare to vary + -abilis -able


a. : able or apt to vary or change : susceptible or subject to variation or changes : changeable , shifting

variable winds

a variable climate

a variable speech habit — Stanley Newman

variable manufacturing expenses — Cost Accounting

b. : fickle , unsteady , inconstant

lest thy love prove likewise variable — Shakespeare

2. : characterized by variations or by varying : marked by diversity or difference

nature is infinitely variable — John Burroughs

the variable and tuneful warblings of the nonpareil — William Bartram

3. : admitting change or variation : alterable

a variable period of three days to two weeks

the annual fair begins on a variable date in October

a variable angle

4. : being or having the characteristics of a variable

a variable number

5. : not true to type : aberrant , inconstant — used of a biological group or a biological character

II. noun

( -s )

1. : something that is variable : something that varies, may vary, or is liable to vary : something subject to change


a. : a quantity that may assume any one of a specified set of values — see dependent variable , independent variable , statistical variable


(1) : a symbol in a mathematical formula representing a variable : placeholder

the value of the function f(x) is determined by the value of the variablex

(2) : a symbol in a logistical formula that stands for any one of a class of things ; especially : free variable — see bound variable , individual variable , predicate variable

3. variables plural : an area or belt of ocean where the winds do not usually blow steadily : a region of calm ; specifically : doldrums

4. : variable star

5. : a course in a school curriculum that may or may not be included in a pupil's program — contrasted with constant

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.