# Definitions for: Variable

[n] a quantity that can assume any of a set of values
[n] a symbol (like x or y) that is used in mathematical or logical expressions to represent a variable quantity
[n] something that is likely to vary; something that is subject to variation; "the weather is one variable to be considered"
[n] a star that varies noticeably in brightness
[adj] (used of a device) designed so that a property (as e.g. light) can be varied; "a variable capacitor"; "variable filters in front of the mercury xenon lights"
[adj] liable to or capable of change; "rainfall in the tropics is notoriously variable"; "variable winds"; "variable expenses"
[adj] marked by diversity or difference; "the varying angles of roof slope"; "nature is infinitely variable"

Webster (1913) Definition: Va"ri*a*ble, a. [L. variabilis: cf. F. variable.]
1. Having the capacity of varying or changing; capable of
alternation in any manner; changeable; as, variable winds
or seasons; a variable quantity.

2. Liable to vary; too susceptible of change; mutable;
fickle; unsteady; inconstant; as, the affections of men
are variable; passions are variable.

Lest that thy love prove likewise variable. --Shak.

His heart, I know, how variable and vain! --Milton.

Variable exhaust (Steam Eng.), a blast pipe with an

Variable quantity (Math.), a variable.

Variable stars (Astron.), fixed stars which vary in their
brightness, usually in more or less uniform periods.

Syn: Changeable; mutable; fickle; wavering; unsteady;
versatile; inconstant.

Va"ri*a*ble, n.
1. That which is variable; that which varies, or is subject
to change.

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 quantity; as, in the
equation x^2 - y^2 = R^2, x and y are variables.

3. (Naut.)
(a) A shifting wind, or one that varies in force.
(b) pl. Those parts of the sea where a steady wind is not
expected, especially the parts between the trade-wind
belts.

Independent variable (Math.), that one of two or more
variables, connected with each other in any way whatever,
to which changes are supposed to be given at will. Thus,
in the equation x^2 - y^2 = R^2, if arbitrary
changes are supposed to be given to x, then x is the
independent variable, and y is called a function of x.
There may be two or more independent variables in an
equation or problem. Cf. Dependent variable, under
Dependent.

Synonyms: adaptable, changeable, protean, shifting, uncertain, unsettled, variable quantity, variable star, varied, varying, versatile

Antonyms: invariable

See Also: argument, chance variable, correlate, correlative, degree of freedom, dependent variable, entity, inconsistent, inconstant, independent variable, North Star, physical thing, placeholder, polar star, Polaris, polestar, quantity, random variable, scalar, star, stochastic variable, symbol, tensor, unknown, unknown quantity, variant, variate, vector

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