plastic

1 of 3

noun

plas·​tic ˈpla-stik How to pronounce plastic (audio)
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 money

plasticky adjective

plastic

2 of 3

adjective

1
: made or consisting of a plastic
2
: having a quality suggestive of mass-produced plastic goods
especially : artificial sense 3
plastic smiles
3
a
: capable of being molded or modeled
plastic clay
b
: capable of adapting to varying conditions : pliable
ecologically plastic animals
4
: capable of being deformed continuously and permanently in any direction without rupture
5
: relating to, characterized by, or exhibiting neural plasticity
6
: of, relating to, or involving plastic surgery
7
: formative, creative
plastic forces in nature
8

-plastic

3 of 3

adjective combining form

1
: developing : forming
thromboplastic
2
: of or relating to (something designated by a term ending in -plasm, -plast, -plasty, or -plasy)
homoplastic
neoplastic
Choose the Right Synonym for plastic

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

Examples of plastic in a Sentence

Noun The toy was made of plastic. a company that manufactures plastics She used plastic to pay for her new computer. Adjective Silly Putty is famous for being very plastic. there's usually a plastic cordiality at these corporate events
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
On the conventional side, jerkbaits, small worm-like plastics, and eggs are all staples. Max Inchausti, Field & Stream, 22 May 2024 These plastics are so small, they're ingested — or even inhaled. Cara Lynn Shultz, Peoplemag, 20 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for plastic 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'plastic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Latin plasticus of molding, from Greek plastikos, from plassein to mold, form

Adjective combining form

Greek -plastikos, from plassein

First Known Use

Noun

1803, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1624, in the meaning defined at sense 7

Time Traveler
The first known use of plastic was in 1624

Dictionary Entries Near plastic

Cite this Entry

“Plastic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plastic. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

plastic

1 of 2 adjective
plas·​tic ˈplas-tik How to pronounce plastic (audio)
1
: capable of being molded or modeled
plastic clay
2
: marked by or using modeling
sculpture is a plastic art
3
: made or consisting of a plastic
plastic dishes
plastically
-ti-k(ə-)lē
adverb

plastic

2 of 2 noun
: a plastic substance
especially : any of numerous synthetic or processed materials that can be formed into objects, films, or fibers

Medical Definition

plastic

1 of 2 adjective
plas·​tic ˈplas-tik How to pronounce plastic (audio)
1
: made or consisting of a plastic
2
: capable of being deformed continuously and permanently in any direction without breaking or tearing
3
a
: capable of growth, repair, or differentiation
a plastic tissue
b
: relating to, characterized by, or exhibiting neural plasticity
4
: of, relating to, or involving plastic surgery
plastic repair

plastic

2 of 2 noun
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
: an object made of plastic

More from Merriam-Webster on plastic

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