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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for plasticity

Synonyms

malleability

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of plasticity in a Sentence

we chose that type of clay for its greater plasticity

Recent Examples on the Web

In the central nervous system, plasticity is related to time. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Spinal implants help treat paralysis but aren’t ready for primetime," 3 Nov. 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of plasticity

1727, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about plasticity

Share plasticity

Statistics for plasticity

Last Updated

20 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plasticity

The first known use of plasticity was in 1727

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on plasticity

What made you want to look up plasticity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!