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

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 And the dose of spandex Hian uses in her viscose knits gives her collection an easy-to-wear athleisure vibe sans pantylines. Elizabeth Wellington,, "Welcome to Paula Hian's King of Prussia pop-up | Elizabeth Wellington," 12 July 2018 These come in two main designs—a spandex T-shirt that’s meant to give an animal a balanced hug, and a vest with straps designed to put pressure on particular parts of the body. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "Do Thundershirts Really Calm Dogs During Fireworks or What?," 3 July 2018 The show’s joyful spirit and abundance of spandex belies its intentions. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Working Women of GLOW," 1 July 2018 The pair wore extremely similar outfits, consisting of neutral spandex leggings (Kim's were dark green, while Kylie's were neutral grey), skin-tight tops, and striking gold mirror aviator sunglasses. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kylie Jenner Wears Her Bra Out to Dinner, with Alexander Wang Leggings and Yeezy Mules," 17 June 2018 The prototype has a breathable spandex skin stretched over a flexible composite material; the inventors have filed for a patent. Leigh Kamping-carder, WSJ, "The Next Generation of Bike Helmets," 27 Apr. 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

25 Sep 2018

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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

See words that rhyme with spandex Encyclopedia article about spandex

Comments on spandex

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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