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[in-i-las-tik] /ˌɪn ɪˈlæs tɪk/
not elastic; lacking flexibility or resilience; unyielding.
Economics. relatively unresponsive to changes, as demand when it fails to increase in proportion to a decrease in price.
Compare elastic (def 6).
Origin of inelastic
First recorded in 1740-50; in-3 + elastic
Related forms
[in-i-la-stis-i-tee] /ˌɪn ɪ læˈstɪs ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
1. inflexible; rigid, uncompromising. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for inelasticity
Historical Examples
  • The subsequent changes then produce thickening and inelasticity.

    Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension: Louis Marshall Warfield
  • The inelasticity of it hampered sociability—and there grew on one, too, a sense of unfitness.

  • As the body ages, certain changes usually take place in the arteries leading to thickening and inelasticity of their walls.

    Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension: Louis Marshall Warfield
  • The most frequent criticism by immigrant leaders interviewed is the inelasticity of the public-school methods.

    New Homes for Old Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge
  • inelasticity, too, in the forms of currency most needed for small transactions, has made very real difficulties for us.

    The Value of Money Benjamin M. Anderson, Jr.
  • The most serious evils of inelasticity in this country are seen in connection with the annual handling of the crops.

    Readings in Money and Banking

    Chester Arthur Phillips
  • One of its great advantages is its inelasticity, which prevents the overrunning of gear worked by it.

    The Romance of Modern Mechanism Archibald Williams
  • Despite the inelasticity of his mind, he vaguely realised his bridegroom honours.

    Emily Fox-Seton Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Tendons, because of their inelasticity, are subjected to injuries peculiar to themselves.

    Lameness of the Horse

    John Victor Lacroix
British Dictionary definitions for inelasticity


not elastic; not resilient
(physics) (of collisions) involving an overall decrease in translational kinetic energy
Derived Forms
inelastically, adverb
inelasticity (ˌɪnɪlæsˈtɪsɪtɪ) noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for inelasticity



1748, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + elastic. Figurative use attested by 1867.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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