Definition of elastic in English:



  • 1(of an object or material) able to resume its normal shape spontaneously after being stretched or compressed.

    ‘a tourniquet of rubber tubing or other elastic material is placed around the upper arm’
    • ‘The resulting rigid and mechanically isolated bundles may then inelastically transmit traction over a greater range than in a uniformly elastic material.’
    • ‘Overlying elastic material derived from the volcanic rocks is estimated to be of Late Devonian to Early Carboniferous age.’
    • ‘Modern plastics and latex materials are too elastic and flimsy to compete with nature's brilliant design.’
    • ‘A tubular protector, which is made of an elastic material, is attached to the cap.’
    • ‘By definition, a material is elastic if it recovers its initial shape after load removal.’
    • ‘In the analysis, soil was modeled using a linearly elastic, perfectly plastic material.’
    • ‘Obsidian can also be employed as an elastic earthquake-resistant building material.’
    • ‘The only thing I have to complain about is that the material is very elastic, so after wearing them a few times, they've gotten a bit loose, which is not good at all.’
    • ‘Within certain loading limits, it behaves as a homogenous elastic material and these limits are wider than for normal concrete.’
    • ‘I saw him examining fallen leaves, a freshly-painted door, and the way in which an elastic fabric deformed when stretched.’
    • ‘The mandible is composed of elastic materials and it will deform due to loads exerted by the jaw muscles, bite point, and joints.’
    • ‘This a tube made out of an elastic material that is very similar to a normal healthy aorta.’
    • ‘The elastic material above the interface would go through a loading-unloading cycle, but the energy would not be dissipated.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But a more elastic material, such as nitinol, can be used to produce an endoscope that offers a high degree of flexibility and kink resistance.’
    • ‘A popular style of loafers come with elastic material on either side.’
    • ‘Use something like leather harnesses (if you have them), ties, and elastic material.’
    • ‘Braces are made from combinations of metal, foam, plastic, elastic material, and straps.’
    • ‘The fibrous layer, which is made of aragonite and organic material, is elastic only under compressional stress.’
    • ‘For example, the wheels are made of an elastic material to absorb more of the shock from bumpy roads and reduce noise.’
    stretchy, elasticated, stretchable, springy, flexible, pliant, pliable, supple, yielding, rubbery, plastic, rebounding, recoiling, resilient, bouncy
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  • 2Able to encompass much variety and change; flexible and adaptable.

    ‘the definition of nationality is elastic in this cosmopolitan country’
    • ‘By the end, since the rules that govern the universe in which the film is set have become so elastic, practically anything is possible and so nothing is at stake.’
    • ‘She figures the concept is elastic enough to accommodate the change she wants to make in herself.’
    • ‘It has to be elastic enough to take account of unpredictable events, and it still has to allow for editors to have the freedom to be wrong.’
    • ‘The concept of ‘humiliation’ is so elastic in this writer as to be practically meaningless.’
    • ‘Of course, this is because my account of epistemology is, in certain respects, highly elastic.’
    • ‘While they may sound more elastic than their stiff competition, flexible packages also can be quite strong.’
    • ‘Private and family life is a flexible and elastic concept incapable of precise definition.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In these days of the multifunctional bank the scope of banking business seems, as a matter of practice, to be infinitely elastic.’
    • ‘Special relativity showed that time is elastic, flexible.’
    • ‘In any case, we will know by tomorrow whether it's a wrap, or this flexible deadline remains elastic.’
    adaptable, flexible, adjustable, pliant, compliant, accommodating, malleable, variable, fluid, versatile, conformable
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  • 3Economics
    (of demand or supply) sensitive to changes in price or income.

    ‘the labour supply is very elastic’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The other extreme is a perfectly elastic demand.’
    • ‘Thus, the imperfectly competing firms faced a more elastic demand for their services than would a monopoly railroad.’
    • ‘Demand is more elastic in the long run than the short run, since in the long run drivers can adapt by buying vehicles with more fuel-efficient engines, or relocating closer to their place of work.’
    • ‘They attempt to price (other things being equal) such that the range of demand above the asking price is elastic.’
  • 4Physics
    (of a collision) involving no decrease of kinetic energy.

    • ‘Molecules are very hard spheres that bounce off each other without losing energy in encounters called elastic collisions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The theory attributed the behaviour of gases to the motions and elastic collisions of a large number of molecules.’
    • ‘As the temperature decreases the elastic energy increases and eventually causes a shear in a part of the matrix, which stabilises the rest.’
    • ‘Fourth, as the gas particles collide with each other or with the wall of a container, their collisions are perfectly elastic.’


  • [mass noun] Cord, tape, or fabric, woven with strips of rubber, which returns to its original length or shape after being stretched.

    ‘a polythene bag tied with elastic’
    • ‘Stretch the elastics quickly and touch them to your lips.’
    • ‘The same leg gripper elastic is also around the ankle area.’
    • ‘Modern day carp poles are ideal for Irish fishing but remember to change the internal elastic for strong powergum as this will enable you to lift decent size fish without needing a landing net.’
    • ‘Pin strap elastic at center back, curving up to top of bra band.’
    • ‘The leg elastic didn't pinch and kept the shorts in place.’
    • ‘The dress was a knee length halter, with no sleeves, but just enough elastic to hold it onto Amanda's pre-teen chest.’
    • ‘She took the hair elastic from her wrist and pulled her straight hair away from her face and into a ponytail; this was the last time she would look at her little studio apartment again.’
    • ‘I know too, that nylon and stretch elastic, cast aside by fishermen, catches around seabirds' legs and either slowly kills or maims them.’
    • ‘Stabilize seams as you sew with clear elastic or sheer tricot tape.’
    • ‘In a drawer in the nightstand there was a brush and many hair elastics.’
    • ‘Take the fabric for the top and starting at the back end of the board, use your largest zigzag stitch to sew corded elastic to the edge, all the way around the board.’
    • ‘White rubber elastic is strong and stable and is commonly used in competitive swim-suits.’
    • ‘Strings or elastic might be attached inside the skirt to keep the back fullness and the bustle in place.’
    • ‘Stretch the clear elastic several times to remove any future give.’
    • ‘After doing some research, I discovered the answer: The dryer was destroying the rubber elastic in the socks and underwear.’
    • ‘Use a large needle to thread thin elastic through the mask, knotting elastic at each end to create a band.’
    • ‘New ribbons add extra flexibility and support for lacing up the leg, and mesh elastic blends seamlessly with tights while helping the shoe to fit more snugly.’
    • ‘You can see this by imagining two spots of paint on a strip of elastic or on a rubber band.’
    • ‘She fastens it there with a strong hair elastic, and uses a hatpin to attach the cloth flower.’
    • ‘It stretched across them like endless elastic.’


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.