Ready for the next installment of our “adjectives from mythology” series? Today we’re taking a look at a word I honestly don’t use very often. In fact, if one of my kids were to ask, “What does mercurial mean?” I probably would have given them a look and said, “Why don’t you look it up?” Ahem. 😉
But when I look at the etymology of the word, it’s no wonder that it means what it does. You see, the Roman god Mercury (equivalent to the Greek Hermes) is the messenger god–the one who dashes hither and yon at high speeds.
Much like Jupiter/Jove, Mercury’s name was given to one of the first planets identified in the heavens, the one closest to the sun–perhaps because it’s orbit around the sun is so quick.
Well, much like jovial actually comes from an astrological term, mercurial does too. It means “swift and clever,” qualities associated with the god Mercury and thought to be more common in those born under the sign of the planet.
Is this a word you use very often? I’m going to make it a point to use it more–it’s a fun one! (Not that I have the “swift” part of its meaning, personally, LOL.)