Meaning of FLEXIBLE in English


I. ˈfleksəbəl adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin flexibilis, from flexus + -ibilis -ible

1. : capable of being flexed : capable of being turned, bowed, or twisted without breaking : pliable

using ointments to keep the healing surface flexible

slim flexible birches bowing in the wind

2. : willing or ready to yield to the influence of others : not invincibly rigid or obstinate : tractable , manageable

a flexible character, pleasant and cooperative but without strong convictions

3. : characterized by ready capability for modification or change, by plasticity, pliancy, variability, and often by consequent adaptability to new situations

a highly flexible curriculum

a living and flexible and growing morality — Havelock Ellis

a flexible schedule of rates

4. : featuring flexible binding or flexible sewing

a flexible edition

— see spine illustration


elastic , resilient , springy , supple : flexible is applicable to anything capable of being bent, turned, or twisted without being broken and with or without returning of itself to its former shape

plumbing is easier with flexible copper tubing

a flexible thin steel runner

elastic indicates ability to stretch, expand, or take on new shape under pressure, usually with return to an original shape or position after pressure is withdrawn

a body … is elastic when, and only when, it tends to recover its initial condition when the distorting force is removed. For example, lead, putty, and chewing gum are not elastic. Steel, rubber, air, most substances in fact, are more or less elastic — A.L.Foley

resilient stresses an ability to spring back and recover shape with the removal of pressure

resilient natural rubber

the resilient qualities of a tennis ball

resilient mattresses and cushions

springy is a nontechnical word with meanings and suggestions of both elastic and resilient

a springy turf

a bed of springy pine needles — S.E.White

her bright brown hair rose in springy waves from her forehead, piled high on her head — Marcia Davenport

supple applies to whatever bends, flexes, or folds with reasonable ease and shows resistance to cracking, breaking, or splitting

supplest calfskin

a pullover of supple chamois

II. noun

( -s )

: something that is flexible

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.