Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective flexible contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of flexible are elastic, resilient, springy, and supple. While all these words mean "able to endure strain without being permanently injured," flexible applies to something which may or may not be resilient or elastic but which can be bent or folded without breaking.

flexible plastic tubing

Where would elastic be a reasonable alternative to flexible?

While in some cases nearly identical to flexible, elastic implies the property of resisting deformation by stretching.

an elastic waistband

When would resilient be a good substitute for flexible?

Although the words resilient and flexible have much in common, resilient implies the ability to recover shape quickly when the deforming force or pressure is removed.

a resilient innersole

When is it sensible to use springy instead of flexible?

The words springy and flexible are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, springy stresses both the ease with which something yields to pressure and the quickness of its return to original shape.

the cake is done when the top is springy

When could supple be used to replace flexible?

The words supple and flexible can be used in similar contexts, but supple applies to something that can be readily bent, twisted, or folded without any sign of injury.

supple leather

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Cite this Entry

“Flexible.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/flexible. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

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