plasticity

noun
plas·tic·i·ty | \pla-ˈsti-sə-tē \

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

malleability

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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

Children are in the processes of physical, emotional and behavioral development and can be expected to have more plasticity or flexibility in their functioning. Andrea K. Mcdaniels, baltimoresun.com, "Treat pain in children differently than adults," 3 May 2018 Nevertheless, this is a provocative study that links early experience with the genetic structure of neurons, and that highlights the remarkable plasticity and adaptability of the brain. Robert Martone, Scientific American, "Early Life Experience: It’s in Your DNA," 10 July 2018 Children have greater potential for neurological, cognitive, emotional and behavioral plasticity. Andrea K. Mcdaniels, baltimoresun.com, "Treat pain in children differently than adults," 3 May 2018 But proof that missing or miswired human brain connections can grow again—what neuroscientists call plasticity—has so far been thin on the ground. Susan Pinker, WSJ, "New Skills Build New Brain Architecture, Research Shows," 14 June 2018 Although there is evidence of some plasticity in the adult central nervous system, the potential for regrowth and reorganization is much more limited. Andrea K. Mcdaniels, baltimoresun.com, "Treat pain in children differently than adults," 3 May 2018 Possible explanations could include changes in brain plasticity, lifestyle changes related to entering the workforce or college or an unwillingness to learn new things — potentially while looking foolish in the process — that mounts with age. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Why It's So Hard to Learn Another Language After Childhood," 2 May 2018 Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [such as Prozac, and which are a common type of antidepressant] can facilitate brain plasticity. Matthew Hutson, Science | AAAS, "Could artificial intelligence get depressed and have hallucinations?," 9 Apr. 2018 Ketamine does not directly influence the same chemical messengers as standard antidepressants such as serotonin but rather works via interaction with another chemical, glutamate—not usually associated with mood but rather with brain plasticity. Simon Makin, Scientific American, "Getting the Inside Dope on Ketamine’s Mysterious Ability to Rapidly Relieve Depression," 2 Mar. 2018

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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Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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The first known use of plasticity was in 1727

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More Definitions for plasticity

plasticity

noun

English Language Learners Definition of plasticity

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

plasticity

noun
plas·tic·i·ty | \pla-ˈstis-ət-ē \
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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