— variability, variableness , n. — variably , adv.
/vair"ee euh beuhl/ , adj.
1. apt or liable to vary or change; changeable: variable weather; variable moods.
2. capable of being varied or changed; alterable: a variable time limit for completion of a book.
3. inconstant; fickle: a variable lover.
4. having much variation or diversity.
5. Biol. deviating from the usual type, as a species or a specific character.
6. Astron. (of a star) changing in brightness.
7. Meteorol. (of wind) tending to change in direction.
8. Math. having the nature or characteristics of a variable.
9. something that may or does vary; a variable feature or factor.
10. Math. , Computers.
a. a quantity or function that may assume any given value or set of values.
b. a symbol that represents this.
11. Logic. (in the functional calculus) a symbol for an unspecified member of a class of things or statements. Cf. bound variable, free variable .
12. Astron. See variable star .
a. a shifting wind, esp. as distinguished from a trade wind.
b. variables , doldrums (def. 2a).
[ 1350-1400; late ME variabilis, equiv. to vari ( us ) VARIOUS + -abilis -ABLE ]
Syn. 3. vacillating, wavering, fluctuating, unsteady, mercurial.
Ant. 1, 3. constant.