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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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 Her recent work homes in on textiles—particularly the spandex and neoprene of swimsuits that become kaleidoscopic beneath her lens. Ella Riley-adams, Vogue, "15 Photography Students Capture the Season’s Standout Bags," 9 Sep. 2020 Take $10 off Eddie Bauer’s reusable face mask of polyester/spandex. Mark Heim |, al, "State’s face mask order extended: Best options for kids, adults, some with loops, others odor-resistant," 28 Aug. 2020 Custom Ink makes masks that are a single-ply blend of 95% cotton and 5% spandex. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "Here's Where You Can Buy Face Masks Online Right Now," 15 July 2020 These face masks are made of two layers, a spandex outer layer and a 100-percent cotton inner layer. Hanna Horvath, NBC News, "How to shop for face masks on Etsy, according to experts," 10 June 2020 One of the gaiters was thin and 100 percent polyester, while the second was a thicker, double-layer microfiber covering made of polyester and elastane, a material commonly known as Lycra or spandex. Allyson Chiu, Washington Post, "‘A lot of variables’: New research into popular gaiters highlights challenges of testing mask safety," 25 Aug. 2020 In the land of spandex bottoms, few things rival the best yoga pants—and finding a pair of workout leggings that’s a tiptoe away from pajamas can be as satisfying as falling asleep in Shavasana. Talia Abbas, Glamour, "The 15 Best Yoga Pants for Doing All of the Things, According to Yoga Instructors," 17 Aug. 2020 Relieve those fears with an athleisure-esque mask that’s made of the same sweat-wicking polyester/spandex material that gets you through spinning class. Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, "15 products that solve the most uncomfortable things about wearing a mask," 13 Aug. 2020 One of the researchers told The Washington Post that the gaiter that tested poorly was made of a lightweight, polyester spandex material, marketed as a breathable item for outdoor sports activity. Dennis Pillion |, al, "Neck gaiters may be worse than no mask at all, study suggests," 12 Aug. 2020

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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Last Updated

22 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spandex.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for spandex


How to pronounce spandex (audio)

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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