plasticity

noun
plas·​tic·​i·​ty | \ pla-ˈsti-sə-tē How to pronounce plasticity (audio) \

Definition of plasticity

1 : the quality or state of being plastic especially : capacity for being molded or altered
2 : the ability to retain a shape attained by pressure deformation
3 : the capacity of organisms with the same genotype to vary in developmental pattern, in phenotype, or in behavior according to varying environmental conditions
4 : the capacity for continuous alteration of the neural pathways and synapses of the living brain and nervous system in response to experience or injury

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Synonyms for plasticity

Synonyms

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Examples of plasticity in a Sentence

we chose that type of clay for its greater plasticity
Recent Examples on the Web But myelin plasticity can contribute to neural circuit function and learning in another way—by tuning the frequency of brain-wave oscillations. R. Douglas Fields, Scientific American, "The Brain Learns in Unexpected Ways," 12 Mar. 2020 Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of a species to respond to environmental stressors—like temperature swings—by altering their physiology without mucking with all the underlying genetics. Matt Simon, Wired, "This Marsupial Dies After Marathon Mating. Now It's Got Bigger Worries," 12 Feb. 2020 For the antechinus, the researchers were interested in the plasticity of its metabolism. Matt Simon, Wired, "This Marsupial Dies After Marathon Mating. Now It's Got Bigger Worries," 12 Feb. 2020 That brain plasticity may also be a factor in how children bounce back from anesthesia, says Dr. Mary Ellen McCann of the hospital’s department of anesthesiology, critical care, and pain medicine. BostonGlobe.com, "Why children are complex patients - The Boston Globe," 28 Sep. 2019 The brain’s plasticity, on average, keeps our memories delightfully intact. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "How the human brain stays young even as we age," 19 Nov. 2019 But that forgetfulness doesn’t permeate the entire human brain, and researchers couldn’t study the idea of modeling brain plasticity without a more robust device to begin with. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Russians Build Device That Imitates Biological Memory," 25 Nov. 2019 So the microbiome impacts gene expression in brain cells, which ultimately diminishes synaptic plasticity—the changes to the connections among neurons. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Are you a mouse who can’t let go of fear? Your microbiome might be the problem," 27 Oct. 2019 That means before age 65, while the heart retains plasticity and the ability to remodel itself. Washington Post, "Never exercised in your life? It’s not too late to start — and benefit.," 21 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plasticity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of plasticity

1727, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for plasticity

Time Traveler

The first known use of plasticity was in 1727

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Statistics for plasticity

Last Updated

26 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Plasticity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plasticity. Accessed 3 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for plasticity

plasticity

noun
How to pronounce plasticity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of plasticity

technical : the quality of being able to be made into different shapes

plasticity

noun
plas·​tic·​i·​ty | \ pla-ˈstis-ət-ē How to pronounce plasticity (audio) \
plural plasticities

Medical Definition of plasticity

1 : the quality or state of being plastic especially : capacity for being molded or altered
2 : the ability to retain a shape attained by pressure deformation
3 : the capacity of organisms with the same genotype to vary in developmental pattern, in phenotype, or in behavior according to varying environmental conditions
4 : the capacity for continuous alteration of the neural pathways and synapses of the living brain and nervous system in response to experience or injury that involves the formation of new pathways and synapses and the elimination or modification of existing ones

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