1. capable of returning to its original length, shape, etc., after being stretched, deformed, compressed, or expanded: an elastic waistband; elastic fiber.
  2. spontaneously expansive, as gases.
  3. flexible; accommodating; adaptable; tolerant: elastic rules and regulations.
  4. springing back or rebounding; springy: He walks with an elastic step.
  5. readily recovering from depression or exhaustion; buoyant: an elastic temperament.
  6. Economics. relatively responsive to change, as to a proportionate increase in demand as the result of a decrease in price.Compare inelastic(def 2).
  7. Physics. of, relating to, or noting a body having the property of elasticity.
  1. webbing, or material in the form of a band, made elastic, as with strips of rubber.
  2. something made from this material, as a garter.
  3. rubber band.

Origin of elastic

1645–55; < New Latin elasticus expanding spontaneously, equivalent to Greek elast(ós) (late variant of elatós ductile, beaten (of metal), derivative of elaúnein, elân beat out, forge) + -icus -ic
Related formse·las·ti·cal·ly, adverbnon·e·las·tic, adjectivenon·e·las·ti·cal·ly, adverbsem·i·e·las·tic, adjectivesem·i·e·las·ti·cal·ly, adverbsu·per·e·las·tic, adjectivesu·per·e·las·ti·cal·ly, adverbun·e·las·tic, adjectiveun·e·las·ti·cal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for elastic

Antonyms for elastic

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for elastically

Contemporary Examples of elastically

  • The elastically talented Amy Poehler will likely surprise us one day by winning serious acclaim.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Stars Predict Your Week

    Starsky + Cox

    September 10, 2011

Historical Examples of elastically

  • It might have been these, elastically yielding, that had saved the lifeboat from total ruin.

    West Of The Sun

    Edgar Pangborn

  • It looks as if the whole face were elastically drawn toward its center.

    The Photoplay

    Hugo Mnsterberg

  • Their bodies are elastically supple, with free sway from the hips and a mercurial poise upon the ankle.

    New Italian sketches

    John Addington Symonds

  • Since brick does not elastically vibrate to such infinitesimal impulses as electric waves, ether must.

    Among the Forces

    Henry White Warren

  • With all these movements is connected the power of elastically contracting and relaxing the muscles.

    How to Sing

    Lilli Lehmann

British Dictionary definitions for elastically


  1. (of a body or material) capable of returning to its original shape after compression, expansion, stretching, or other deformation
  2. capable of adapting to changean elastic schedule
  3. quick to recover from fatigue, dejection, etc; buoyant
  4. springy or resilientan elastic walk
  5. (of gases) capable of expanding spontaneously
  6. physics (of collisions) involving no overall change in translational kinetic energy
  7. made of elastic
  1. tape, cord, or fabric containing interwoven strands of flexible rubber or similar substance allowing it to stretch and return to its original shape
  2. mainly US and Canadian something made of elastic, such as a rubber band or a garter
Derived Formselastically, adverb

Word Origin for elastic

C17: from New Latin elasticus impulsive, from Greek elastikos, from elaunein to beat, drive
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

Word Origin and History for elastically



1650s, coined in French (1650s) as a scientific term to describe gases, from Modern Latin elasticus, from Greek elastos "ductile, flexible," related to elaunein "to strike, beat out," of uncertain origin. Applied to solids from 1670s. Figurative use by 1859. The noun, "cord or string woven with rubber," is 1847, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

elastically in Medicine


  1. Having the property of returning to the original shape after being distorted.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.