The Meaning of Versatile: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of versatile? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word versatile, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word versatile mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word versatile is an adjective that means variable or changeable, used in feeling, purpose, or policy. Something that is versatile has many different uses. Many different things can be versatile, such as a versatile actor who can have varied uses in different roles or movies, a versatile athlete who can play many different sports, versatile erudition, versatile food, versatile software for content creation, versatile everyday tools, a versatile instrument, versatile molecules function, versatile writer, versatile moods, an insect’s versatile antennae, or an owl’s versatile tow.  In botany, this word means attached at or near the middle so as to swing freely, like how the versatile anther of a flower moves. In zoology and biology, the word versatile means turning either forward or backward like a versatile toe. Versatile has three syllables – ver-sa-tile, and the pronunciation of versatile is vɜrsətəl. Different suffixes like ty and ness can be added to the end of the word versatile to form related word forms. 

Many different languages also contain words that mean versatile. You may find that some of these words look and sound similar to each other. This is likely because they are of a similar origin. Usually, cognates are formed when two words have a common ancestor such as Latin or Greek. Cognates are words that look, sound, and mean something similar across languages. This list of translations of versatile is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Esperanto: multforma‎, plurforma‎, ŝanĝiĝiva‎, ŝanĝiĝpova‎, ŝanĝiĝkapabla‎
  •  Catalan: versàtil‎
  •  Romanian: versatil‎, multilateral‎
  •  German: bewandt‎, beweglich‎, gewandt‎
  •  Italian: versatile‎
  •  Portuguese: versátil‎
  •  French: polyvalent‎
  •  Dutch: veelzijdig‎, pluriform‎
  •  Polish: uniwersalny‎, wszechstronny‎, wersatylny‎
  •  Hungarian: sokoldalú‎
  •  Spanish: versátil‎
  •  Finnish: monipuolinen‎
  •  Russian: разносторо́нний‎
  •  Korean: 다재다능한‎
  •  Swedish: kvick‎, pigg‎, belevad‎, behändig‎
  •  Turkish: becerikli‎, elinden her iş gelen‎

What is the origin of the word versatile?

According Etymonline, versatile has been used since C17 and comes from the Latin versātilis/Latin versatilis which is the past participle of versāre/versare. This is the frequentative of the Latin versatus/versātus, related to the Latin versā, vertō, and the past participle of versō. This is from wer in Indo-European roots.

How can the word versatile be used in a sentence?

The word versatile can be used in many different sentences in natural sounding English. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definition. You can also try to make flashcards or quizzes for yourself to test your knowledge of definitions. Learning new words is a great way to make yourself sound smarter and to improve your vocabulary. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. Below are several examples of versatile.

She was a versatile woman, who practiced a great diversity of fields of endeavor She had various achievements in various subjects of musical instrument.

They had a versatile product selection of soup, chardonnay, and to a lesser extent syrah.

The different types of contractors created versatile custom configurations for the simple matter of unitary construction, which were catalysts in which they chose.

The botanist at Princeton University discovered the anthers of certain flowers were very versatile. Her new task was to study the plant’s flexibility.

She was a versatile performer on her personal computer. She wore a femme fatale of stretchy fabric and perfomred comedy on Facebook and Twitter.

What are synonyms and antonyms of versatile?

There are many different words that are equivalent to the word versatile. Synonyms are words and phrases that have the same or a similar definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are a useful English language tool because they can help you to avoid repeating the same word over and over again while simultaneously expanding your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word versatile is provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  adaptable
  •  unsettled
  •  compliant
  •  adaptive
  •  capable
  •  multitalented
  •  vacillating
  •  multilateral
  •  mutable
  •  general purpose
  •  generally capable
  •  mixed-use
  •  multiuse
  •  movable
  •  changeful
  •  two-handed
  •  multilayered
  •  varied
  •  many-sided
  •  resilient
  •  well-rounded
  •  resourceful
  •  general-purpose
  •  comprehensive
  •  handleable
  •  hanging loose
  •  diverse
  •  responsive
  •  multifaceted
  •  masterful
  •  motile
  •  multiskilled
  •  fluctuating
  •  adroit
  •  polyvalent
  •  multidisciplinary
  •  ambidextrous
  •  available
  •  handy
  •  mobile
  •  incorporative
  •  gifted
  •  talented
  •  one-size-fits-all
  •  adjustable
  •  accomplished
  •  shifting
  •  facile
  •  pliable
  •  modifiable
  •  protean
  •  multi-purpose
  •  finished
  •  good
  •  inconstant
  •  flighty
  •  apt
  •  unstable
  •  interdisciplinary
  •  all-around
  •  multipurpose
  •  nimble
  •  mercurial
  •  skilled
  •  skillful
  •  multi-faceted
  •  unsteady
  •  dexterous
  •  synthesizing
  •  all around
  •  multifarious
  •  fickle
  •  multifunction
  •  supple
  •  flexible
  •  heterogeneous
  •  switch-hitting
  •  clever

There are also a number of words that mean the opposite of the word versatile. These opposite words are known as antonyms, which are words and phrases that have the opposite definitions as another word or phrase. Antonyms are also a useful tool to expand a person’s vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word versatile is also provided by Power Thesaurus. 

  •  dumb as a post
  •  awkward
  •  dull-headed
  •  baboso
  •  dumb enough
  •  as dumb as a doorknob
  •  slow on the uptake
  •  under the weather upstairs
  •  unquestionably dumb
  •  ass-headed
  •  very stupid
  •  unfitted
  •  thick as a plank
  •  dumb as a box of rocks
  •  dumb as a doornail
  •  thick as champ
  •  particularly silly
  •  as thick as two short planks
  •  stupid enough
  •  stewpid
  •  feather-brained
  •  thick as two short planks
  •  dumber than a rock
  •  dumb as dirt
  •  really dumb
  •  most stupid
  •  cack-handed
  •  retarded
  •  as dumb as dirt
  •  foolish enough
  •  as thick as pig shit
  •  dormant
  •  as daft as a brush
  •  very silly
  •  fool enough
  •  same
  •  so dumb
  •  not very quick
  •  hardass
  •  drowsy
  •  as thick as mince
  •  pretty stupid
  •  so foolish
  •  extremely stupid
  •  moron
  •  one sandwich short of a picnic
  •  customer-focused
  •  as thick as a plank
  •  stubbornly dumb
  •  dumb as a sack of hammers
  •  thick as a brick
  •  thick as pig shit
  •  ass headed
  •  unmanageable
  •  as thick as champ
  •  like clockwork
  •  as silly as a goose
  •  thick as pigshit
  •  so stupid
  •  inflexible
  •  stated
  •  as thick as pigshit
  •  as dumb as a bag of hammers
  •  dumb as a doorknob
  •  as dumb as a sack of hammers
  •  finite
  •  as dumb as a box of rocks
  •  unadjustable
  •  silly as a goose
  •  soft in the head
  •  unqualified
  •  shitheaded

Overall, the word versatile means flexible and  having varied uses or applications. This word is Latin in origin.


  1. Versatile definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  2. versatile: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  3. Versatile Synonyms | Power Thesaurus
  4. Versatile antonyms – 148 Opposites of Versatile | Power Thesaurus 
  5. versatile | Origin and meaning of versatile | Online Etymology Dictionary