Definition of plastic in English:

plastic

Line breaks: plas|tic
Pronunciation: /ˈplastɪk
 
/

noun

[mass noun]
  • 1A synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers such as polyethylene, PVC, nylon, etc., that can be moulded into shape while soft, and then set into a rigid or slightly elastic form: mains pipes should be made of plastic or copper [count noun]: bottles can be made from a variety of plastics
    More example sentences
    • It can act as a feedstock for a number of organic compounds, and is already used to produce low phosphate detergents and plastics.
    • The group also makes synthetic fibres, resins and plastics and petroleum products.
    • Oil is used as a raw material in products ranging from plastics to paints.
  • 1.1 informal Credit cards or other types of plastic card that can be used as money: he pays with cash instead of with plastic
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    • Swapping your expensive plastic for a credit card that charges no interest on balance transfers and purchases for up to nine months.
    • Check out the fantastic plastic in our Credit Card centre.
    • The number of credit and store cards has doubled to 74 million, which means that every adult holds two pieces of credit plastic in his or her wallet.

adjective

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  • 1Made of plastic: plastic bags
    More example sentences
    • He unhooked his arm and grabbed a plastic cup from the bag on the counter.
    • This is when he graciously grants himself permission to empty a shopping bag full of cheap plastic sunglasses onto the table in front of me.
    • I've given them 100 plastic bags and asked them the clear the rubbish before they go.
  • 1.1Artificial or unnatural: a holiday rep with huge white teeth and a plastic smile
    More example sentences
    • After she broke down in the dressing room, all she could try to do was fake a plastic smile and pray that it will be over soon.
    • She looks at me and puts on a plastic smile. ‘Sir, it will take about ten minutes if you don't mind waiting.’
    • I know that you've seen his plastic smile on a thousand eager faces before.
    Synonyms
    artificial, false, synthetic, fake, superficial, pseudo, sham, bogus, ersatz, assumed, spurious, specious, unnatural, insincere
    informal phoney, pretend
  • 2(Of substances or materials) easily shaped or moulded: rendering the material more plastic
    More example sentences
    • Wet into wet, and the use of salt or alcohol in wet paint suggested the plastic foam material from which the noodles are made.
    • The process to make the cap includes positioning viscous plastic material in a mold to produce the desired retention member shape.
    • This is a thin film that's been coated onto a flexible plastic material backed by a strong glue.
    Synonyms
  • 2.1Relating to moulding or modelling in three dimensions, or to produce three-dimensional effects: the plastic arts
    More example sentences
    • The topic was also addressed for several day through works of plastic art and performances.
    • Four principal types of source pertain to the subject: literature, works of graphic or plastic art, archaeological remains, and notated pieces of music.
    • To the ancient Greeks, the body was an object of esthetic contemplation, raised by their plastic art to the loftiest peaks of sublimity.
  • 2.2(In science and technology) of or relating to the permanent deformation of a solid without fracture by the temporary application of force.
    More example sentences
    • In crystalline solids, plastic deformation tends to be confined to crystallographic planes of atoms which have a low resistance to shear.
    • Similar dynamics is observed in the plastic deformation of solids, in particular glasses.
    • The stress at which plastic deformation or yielding is observed to begin depends on the sensitivity of the strain measurements.
  • 3 Biology Exhibiting adaptability to change or variety in the environment.
    More example sentences
    • Genotypic selection was measured on plastic traits in each environment to test whether the observed direction of plasticity was adaptive.
    • Similarly many behavioral traits are plastic across environments.
    • Every system which would escape the fate of an organism too rigid to adjust itself to its environment, must be plastic to the extent that the growth of knowledge demands.

Derivatives

plastically

adverb
More example sentences
  • If a cell that is a potential site of establishment for a juvenile is already occupied the stolon reacts plastically, with probability p C, by at most four additional growth steps.
  • If a flexible pipe is subject to severe bending, the innermost steel carcass may seize and plastically deform.
  • In a similar fashion, a soft clay will generally behave plastically, whereas an overconsolidated clay (for example, London clay) will be stiff until it reaches its yield point, when it will break up into blocks.

Origin

mid 17th century (in the sense 'characteristic of moulding'): from French plastique or Latin plasticus, from Greek plastikos, from plassein 'to mould'.

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