span·​dex ˈspan-ˌdeks How to pronounce spandex (audio)
: any of various elastic textile fibers made chiefly of polyurethane
also : clothing made of this material

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 The researchers say the process takes 15 minutes and can dissolve any blend of cotton, polyester, nylon and spandex into molecules that can be used to make new fabrics or products like dyes, electronics and tires. Nicolás Rivero, Washington Post, 5 July 2024 The nylon and spandex blend keeps it both form-fitting and breathable but also durable and made to handle years of wear. Mia Meltzer, Rolling Stone, 3 July 2024 Sure, any old pair of spandex shorts could work to prevent chafing, but Boody’s Smoothing Shorts offer so much more. Katie Decker-Jacoby, StyleCaster, 17 June 2024 Dozens of detailed five-star reviews from shoppers have helped vault these spandex shorts to the top of the charts. Laura Gurfein, Peoplemag, 29 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for spandex 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spandex.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


anagram of expands

First Known Use

1959, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spandex was in 1959


Dictionary Entries Near spandex

Cite this Entry

“Spandex.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


span·​dex ˈspan-ˌdeks How to pronounce spandex (audio)
: any of various synthetic elastic textile fibers

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