Versatile – What does it mean, concept, figurative meaning and connotation

We explain what is something versatile, the origin of the term and its figurative meaning. Also, why does it have a positive connotation.

Something is versatile when it can serve many different things.

What is something versatile?

Something versatile It is something that can have very different functions or that can be adapted to very different needs.. In other words, something versatile is something that can be used for many different things, or that can show many different aspects of itself.

The word “versatile” comes from Latin versatilis, derived in turn from the verb I will see, which can be translated as “turn around” or “turn.” It was used in ancient times (by authors such as Livy, in the 1st century AD) with a figurative sense to refer to those people who know how to adapt to different situations, that is, they are flexible.

Nowadays, we use this adjective very often with that last meaning, and with a certain positive connotation, more or less related to terms such as “useful” and “diverse”. However, it can also be used as a synonym for “unsteady” or “accommodative”, that is, someone who is not committed to a cause or lacks convictions.

Thus, for example, we say that a tool is versatile, when it can serve us for very different uses or to solve different problems; or that a worker is versatile when we can place him, within an organization, in different positions or responsibilities.