span·​dex | \ˈspan-ˌdeks \

Definition of spandex 

: any of various elastic textile fibers made chiefly of polyurethane also : clothing made of this material

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Did You Know?

Spandex is a fiber that has had an impact on fashion high and low, casual and formal, outer and under. It's not a trademark, as a number of the names of other fibers are, among them Dacron, Lycra, and Orlon. It's a generic term, coined in 1959 as an anagram of the word expands. Anagrammatic coinages are not common; the only other in our dictionaries that the average person is likely to be familiar with is sideburns. Sideburns is an anagram (and synonym) of burnsides, from Ambrose E. Burnside, a Union general in the American Civil War credited with originating the fashion (in the U.S., at least) also known as side-whiskers.

Examples of spandex in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Just last week, Kylie was spotted wearing a black spandex one-piece to celebrate Jordyn’s 21st birthday in Miami. Mekita Rivas, Teen Vogue, "Jordyn Woods Wore Kylie Jenner’s One-Piece Biker Outfit," 8 Oct. 2018 There are big dance numbers and seductive little ones, and on the whole this film is a lot like the first, with some big winks at the audience and some shiny spandex to keep it all sparkly. Mamma Mia! Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a kooky, poppy romp," 18 July 2018 Ruth Root makes her own spandex with children’s pajama-like designs and wraps it around canvas, and Christina Quarles sneaks such colors and graphic-design elements into her otherwise dark scenes of body dysmorphia. Dan Duray, ELLE Decor, "Is Nostalgia in the Art World Ever a Good Thing?," 29 Aug. 2018 Let the roadies don their spandex and perch on their 700c wheels; the common man will e-bike home from work, slugging a tall boy and pulling wheelies off the curb. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "A Weekend With a $16,000 Mountain Bike," 8 Mar. 2017 The camera looks down on him rather than up, and he's outfitted in rumpled business casual rather than tactical spandex. Katie Walsh,, "'Skyscraper' review: Dwayne Johnson shows off his dramatic acting chops," 11 July 2018 The Moment In the late 1990s, while other mountain bikers were racing around in spandex, British Columbia became the heart of the nascent, weird, and sketchy freeride mountain biking. Heather Hansman, Outside Online, "5 Movies We're Excited to See at Telluride Mountainfilm," 24 May 2018 AmberNoon is fashioned from a combination of dry flex, moss, and tencel infused with some spandex. Elizabeth Wellington,, "This sun-protective clothing line by a King of Prussia dermatologist is actually pretty cute | Elizabeth Wellington," 2 July 2018 The socks are a blend of cotton, polyester, and spandex. Julie Brown, Outside Online, "The Best Running Socks, According to Ultramarathoners," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spandex.' 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 spandex

1959, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for spandex

anagram of expands

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Last Updated

18 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for spandex

The first known use of spandex was in 1959

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English Language Learners Definition of spandex

: a material that stretches easily and is used especially to make sports clothing; also : clothing made of this material

More from Merriam-Webster on spandex

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spandex Encyclopedia article about spandex

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