Definition of elastic in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /əˈlastik/


1(Of an object or material) able to resume its normal shape spontaneously after contraction, dilatation, or distortion.
Example sentences
  • The separation between these two kinds of world is not a division into two parts set in isolation from one another but more like a stretching of an elastic material in two directions.
  • Braces are made from combinations of metal, foam, plastic, elastic material, and straps.
  • I saw him examining fallen leaves, a freshly-painted door, and the way in which an elastic fabric deformed when stretched.
stretchy, elasticized, stretchable, springy, flexible, pliant, pliable, supple, yielding, plastic, resilient
1.1Able to encompass variety and change; flexible and adaptable: the definition of nationality is elastic in this cosmopolitan country
More example sentences
  • Its ramifications are contentious, and the principle's formulation is sufficiently elastic to accommodate a variety of constructions.
  • The concept of ‘sectarian balance’ is equally elastic and carries a variety of meanings.
  • Special relativity showed that time is elastic, flexible.
adaptable, flexible, adjustable, accommodating, variable, fluid, versatile
1.2 Economics (Of demand or supply) sensitive to changes in price or income: the labor supply is very elastic
More example sentences
  • Thus, the imperfectly competing firms faced a more elastic demand for their services than would a monopoly railroad.
  • In the case of perfect competition where there is no market power, a firm's supply changes will have no effect on the price, and the residual demand is perfectly elastic.
  • They attempt to price (other things being equal) such that the range of demand above the asking price is elastic.
1.3 Physics (Of a collision) involving no decrease of kinetic energy.
Example sentences
  • The concept of Newtonian elastic collisions among molecules of a gas suffices to bind together in one theory the empirical laws of Boyle, Charles, and Graham.
  • Molecules are very hard spheres that bounce off each other without losing energy in encounters called elastic collisions.
  • Fourth, as the gas particles collide with each other or with the wall of a container, their collisions are perfectly elastic.


Cord, tape, or fabric, typically woven with strips of rubber, that returns to its original length or shape after being stretched.
Example sentences
  • I know too, that nylon and stretch elastic, cast aside by fishermen, catches around seabirds' legs and either slowly kills or maims them.
  • After doing some research, I discovered the answer: The dryer was destroying the rubber elastic in the socks and underwear.
  • White rubber elastic is strong and stable and is commonly used in competitive swim-suits.



Pronunciation: /-(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • In ‘better’ times, the workload of handling criminals was handed over to the police, whose powers would elastically expand to accommodate accelerating crime trends.
  • However, if the ball is pressed hard against the disk, then the plate deforms elastically, as shown by the characteristic horseshoe-shaped interference pattern.
  • Moreover, the elastically constrained displacements are significant on the scale of the network's internodal distance of ~ 60-80 nm.


Pronunciation: /iˈlastəˌsīz/
Example sentences
  • Bright little beads are cropping up everywhere: in small elasticized bracelets, worn a dozen at a time; sewn into collars and bags and the edges of sweaters.
  • A fundamental problem in elasticizing accountability is that the instruments that fund the participation of voluntary organizations in collaboration, or in work delegated, are ill suited to the task.
  • Crafted with a blend of lightweight cotton and nylon, they feature plenty of pocket space, a sturdy elasticized drawstring and classic white styling.


Mid 17th century (originally describing a gas in the sense 'expanding spontaneously to fill the available space'): from modern Latin elasticus, from Greek elastikos 'propulsive', from elaunein 'to drive'.

  • First recorded in the 1650s, elastic was originally used to describe the way that gas is able to expand to fill whatever space is available. In those days some people thought that gas particles acted like a coiled spring, an idea that led elastic to take on its modern sense. The word comes from Greek elastikos, from elaunein ‘to drive’.

Words that rhyme with elastic

bombastic, drastic, dynastic, ecclesiastic, encomiastic, enthusiastic, fantastic, gymnastic, iconoclastic, mastic, monastic, neoplastic, orgastic, orgiastic, periphrastic, plastic, pleonastic, sarcastic, scholastic, scholiastic

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: e·las·tic

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.