span·​dex | \ ˈspan-ˌdeks How to pronounce spandex (audio) \

Definition of spandex

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

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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 Made with 95% polyester and 5% spandex, these ultra-comfortable headbands don’t squeeze your head too tight, but rather, keep it relaxed and stress-free for the duration of your workout. Tim Kohut, BGR, 2 July 2021 The spandex material of these shorts is also slightly compressive, which will help reduce muscle soreness after long cycling trips. Jayla Andrulonis, Travel + Leisure, 2 Sep. 2021 Like its predecessors, the Cilkoo Frill Smocked Crop Tank Top keeps the trend going with its polyester-spandex combination. Carly Totten,, 13 Aug. 2021 Made from a polyester and spandex fabric blend, the skort offers a four-way stretch that's perfect for anything from high-intensity workouts to casually lounging around. Maya Gandara,, 28 Aug. 2021 Across a 4-hour time span, the simulator covered by metafabric was 5 and 6.8 degrees Celsius cooler than the one covered in cotton and spandex, respectively, and 10.2 degrees cooler than an uncovered one representing bare skin. Jess Craig, Wired, 23 Aug. 2021 The pants are made from a soft and stretchy blend of polyester and spandex. Eden Lichterman,, 27 July 2021 This neoprene-esque nylon-and-spandex suit is an elegant alternative to a string bikini. Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, 17 July 2021 Thanks to its moisture-wicking blend of polyester and spandex, mesh paneling, and cooling, sweat-resistant design, this fitness top — available in sizes XS to XXL — offers impressive ventilation. Emily Belfiore,, 7 July 2021

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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Time Traveler for spandex

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The first known use of spandex was in 1959

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Dictionary Entries Near spandex



span dog

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Last Updated

23 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spandex.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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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

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