# variable

variable
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.
n.
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.
13. Meteorol.
a. a shifting wind, esp. as distinguished from a trade wind.
b. variables, doldrums (def. 2a).
[1350-1400; late ME < L variabilis, equiv. to vari(us) VARIOUS + -abilis -ABLE]
Syn. 3. vacillating, wavering, fluctuating, unsteady, mercurial.
Ant. 1, 3. constant.

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I
In algebra, a symbol (usually a letter) standing in for an unknown numerical value in an equation.

Commonly used variables include x and y (real-number unknowns), z (complex-number unknowns), t (time), r (radius), and s (arc length). Variables should be distinguished from coefficients, fixed values that multiply powers of variables in polynomials and algebraic equations. In the quadratic equation ax2 + bx + c = 0, x is the variable and a, b and c are coefficients whose values must be specified to solve the equation. In translating word problems into algebraic equations, quantities to be determined can be represented by variables.
II
(as used in expressions)

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

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• variable — [ varjabl ] adj. et n. • fin XII e; lat. variabilis 1 ♦ Qui est susceptible de se modifier, de changer souvent au cours d une durée. ⇒ changeant, 1. incertain, instable. Temps variable. N. m. Météor. L aiguille du baromètre est au variable, sur… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

• Variable — Va ri*a*ble, a. [L. variabilis: cf. F. variable.] [1913 Webster] 1. Having the capacity of varying or changing; capable of alternation in any manner; changeable; as, variable winds or seasons; a variable quantity. [1913 Webster] 2. Liable to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

• Variable — Variable, dt. Veränderliche bezeichnet: Variable (Philosophie), ein in der Philosophie mit unterschiedlichen Interpretationen belegter Begriff Variable (Programmierung), in der Informationstechnik ein Speicherplatz abhängige und unabhängige… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

• Variable — Va ri*a*ble, n. 1. That which is variable; that which varies, or is subject to change. [1913 Webster] 2. (Math.) A quantity which may increase or decrease; a quantity which admits of an infinite number of values in the same expression; a variable …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

• variable — adj. de tout genre. Sujet à varier, qui change souvent. En ce climat les saisons sont fort variables. temps variable. vent variable. la fortune est variable. c est un esprit variable. il est variable dans ses opinions, dans ses resolutions …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

• variable — (Del lat. variabĭlis). 1. adj. Que varía o puede variar. 2. Inestable, inconstante y mudable. 3. f. Mat. Magnitud que puede tener un valor cualquiera de los comprendidos en un conjunto. variable estadística. f. Mat. Magnitud cuyos valores están… …   Diccionario de la lengua española

• variable — Variable, Versutus, Inconstans, Mobilis, Desultorius. Estre variable et legier, Fidem mutare. Amitié variable, Desultoria amicitia, id est, identidem euarians, non constans …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

• variable — ► ADJECTIVE 1) not consistent or having a fixed pattern; liable to vary. 2) able to be changed or adapted. 3) Mathematics (of a quantity) able to assume different numerical values. ► NOUN 1) a variable element, feature, or quantity. 2) Astronomy… …   English terms dictionary

• variable — sujeto a variación. Inestable, inconstante y mudable. Valor numérico sobre el que puede establecerse una curva de variabilidad Diccionario ilustrado de Términos Médicos.. Alvaro Galiano. 2010. variable Factor de un experimento científico que… …   Diccionario médico

• variable — [ver′ē ə bəl, var′ē ə bəl] adj. [ME < MFr < L variabilis] 1. apt or likely to change or vary; changeable, inconstant, fickle, fluctuating, etc. 2. that can be changed or varied 3. Biol. tending to deviate in some way from the type; aberrant …   English World dictionary

• variable — I adjective aberrant, alterable, capricious, changeable, changeful, erratic, faithless, fanciful, fast and loose, fickle, fitful, fluctuating, inconstant, irregular, irresponsible, mercurial, modifiable, oscillating, protean, shifting, spasmodic …   Law dictionary