[syn: varying, variable]
3. (used of a device) designed so that a property (as e.g. light) can be varied;
- Example: "a variable capacitor"
- Example: "variable filters in front of the mercury xenon lights"
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Variable \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-rate mortgage (Finance), a mortgage whose
percentage interest rate varies depending on some agreed
standard, such as the prime rate; -- used often in
financing the purchase of a home. Such a mortgage usually
has a lower initial interest rate than a fixed-rate
mortgage, and this permits buyers of a home to finance
the purchase a house of higher price than would be
possible with a fixed-rate loan.
Variable stars (Astron.), fixed stars which vary in their
brightness, usually in more or less uniform periods.
Syn: Changeable; mutable; fickle; wavering; unsteady;
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Variable \Va"ri*a*ble\, n.
1. That which is variable; that which varies, or is subject
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.
(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
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
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
adj 1: liable to or capable of change; "rainfall in the tropics
is notoriously variable"; "variable winds"; "variable
expenses" [ant: invariable]
2: marked by diversity or difference; "the varying angles of
roof slope"; "nature is infinitely variable" [syn: varying,
3: (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"
n 1: something that is likely to vary; something that is subject
to variation; "the weather is one variable to be
2: a quantity that can assume any of a set of values [syn:
variable, variable quantity]
3: a star that varies noticeably in brightness [syn: variable
4: a symbol (like x or y) that is used in mathematical or
logical expressions to represent a variable quantity
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
181 Moby Thesaurus words for "variable":
able to adapt, adaptable, adjustable, adrift, afloat, agnostic,
alterable, alterative, alternating, ambiguous, amorphous, broken,
capricious, careening, catchy, chancy, changeable, changeful,
changing, checkered, choppy, desultory, deviable, deviating,
deviative, deviatory, dicey, different, disconnected,
discontinuous, disorderly, divaricate, divergent, diversified,
diversiform, dizzy, doubting, eccentric, equivocal, erose, erratic,
ever-changing, fast and loose, fickle, fitful, flexible,
flickering, flighty, flitting, fluctuating, fluid, freakish, giddy,
guttering, halting, herky-jerky, hesitant, hesitating, heteroclite,
immethodical, impermanent, impetuous, impulsive, incalculable,
inconsistent, inconstant, indecisive, indemonstrable, infirm,
intermittent, intermitting, irregular, irresolute, irresponsible,
jagged, jerky, kaleidoscopic, lurching, malleable, many-sided,
mazy, mercurial, metamorphic, mobile, modifiable, moody, motley,
movable, mutable, nonconformist, nonstandard, nonuniform, patchy,
permutable, plastic, pluralistic, polysemous, protean, proteiform,
ragged, rambling, resilient, restless, rough, roving, rubbery,
scatterbrained, scrappy, shapeless, shifting, shifty, shuffling,
skeptical, slippery, snatchy, spasmatic, spasmic, spasmodic,
spastic, spineless, sporadic, spotty, staggering, supple,
temperamental, ticklish, touch-and-go, transient, transitory,
uncertain, unconfirmable, uncontrolled, unconvinced, undependable,
undisciplined, undivinable, unequable, unequal, uneven, unfixed,
unforeseeable, unmethodical, unmetrical, unorthodox, unpersuaded,
unpredictable, unprovable, unregular, unreliable, unrestrained,
unrhythmical, unsettled, unstable, unstable as water, unstaid,
unsteadfast, unsteady, unsure, unsystematic, ununiform,
unverifiable, vacillating, vagrant, variegated, variform, various,
varying, veering, vicissitudinary, vicissitudinous, volatile,
wandering, wanton, wavering, wavery, wavy, wayward, whimsical,
wishy-washy, wobbling, wobbly
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (30 December 2018):
(Sometimes "var" /veir/ or /var/) A named memory
location in which a program can store intermediate results and
from which it can read it them. Each programming language
has different rules about how variables can be named, typed,
and used. Typically, a value is "assigned" to a variable in
an assignment statement. The value is obtained by
evaluating an expression and then stored in the variable. For
example, the assignment
x = y + 1
means "add one to y and store the result in x". This may look
like a mathematical equation but the mathematical equality is
only true in the program until the value of x or y changes.
Furthermore, statements like
x = x + 1
are common. This means "add one to x", which only makes sense
as a state changing operation, not as a mathematical equality.
The simplest form of variable corresponds to a single-word
of memory or a CPU register and an assignment to a
load or store machine code operation.
A variable is usually defined to have a type, which never
changes, and which defines the set of values the variable can
hold. A type may specify a single ("atomic") value or a
collection ("aggregate") of values of the same or different
types. A common aggregate type is the array - a set of
values, one of which can be selected by supplying a numerical
Languages may be untyped, weakly typed, strongly typed,
or some combination. Object-oriented programming languages
extend this to object types or classes.
A variable's scope is the region of the program source
within which it represents a certain thing. Scoping rules are
also highly language dependent but most serious languages
support both local variables and global variables.
Subroutine and function formal arguments are special
variables which are set automatically by the language runtime
on entry to the subroutine.
In a functional programming language, a variable's value
never changes and change of state is handled as recursion over
lists of values.