I. adjective Etymology: Latin plasticus of molding, from Greek plastikos, from plassein to mold, form Date: 1632 1. formative, creative <
plastic forces in nature
2. a. capable of being molded or modeled <
plastic clay
b. capable of adapting to varying conditions ; pliable <
ecologically plastic animals
3. sculptural 4. made or consisting of a plastic 5. capable of being deformed continuously and permanently in any direction without rupture 6. of, relating to, or involving plastic surgery 7. having a quality suggestive of mass-produced plastic goods; especially artificial 4 <
plastic smiles
8. relating to, characterized by, or exhibiting neural plasticity Synonyms: plastic, pliable, pliant, ductile, malleable, adaptable mean susceptible of being modified in form or nature. plastic applies to substances soft enough to be molded yet capable of hardening into the desired fixed form <
plastic materials allow the sculptor greater freedom
. pliable suggests something easily bent, folded, twisted, or manipulated <
pliable rubber tubing
. pliant may stress flexibility and sometimes connote springiness <
an athletic shoe with a pliant sole
. ductile applies to what can be drawn out or extended with ease <
ductile metals such as copper
. malleable applies to what may be pressed or beaten into shape <
the malleable properties of gold
. adaptable implies the capability of being easily modified to suit other conditions, needs, or uses <
computer hardware that is adaptable
. II. noun Date: 1905 1. a plastic substance; specifically any of numerous organic synthetic or processed materials that are mostly thermoplastic or thermosetting polymers of high molecular weight and that can be made into objects, films, or filaments 2. credit cards used for payment — called also plastic moneyplasticky adjective

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • -plastic — [plas′tik] [< Gr plastikos: see PLASTIC] combining form forming adjectives 1. forming, developing [homoplastic] 2. of or relating to (a given noun ending in PLASM, PLAST, or PLASTY) [rhinoplastic] …   English World dictionary

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