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[flek-suh-buh l] /ˈflɛk sə bəl/
capable of being bent, usually without breaking; easily bent:
a flexible ruler.
susceptible of modification or adaptation; adaptable:
a flexible schedule.
willing or disposed to yield; pliable:
a flexible personality.
a flexible substance or material, as rubber or leather.
Origin of flexible
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin flexibilis pliant, easily bent. See flex1, -ible
Related forms
flexibility, flexibleness, noun
flexibly, adverb
hyperflexibility, noun
hyperflexible, adjective
hyperflexibleness, noun
hyperflexibly, adverb
nonflexibility, noun
nonflexible, adjective
nonflexibleness, noun
nonflexibly, adverb
unflexibility, noun
unflexible, adjective
unflexibly, adverb
1. pliable, elastic, supple. Flexible, limber, pliant refer to that which bends easily. Flexible refers to that which is capable of being bent and adds sometimes the idea of compressibility or expansibility: a flexible piece of rubber hose. Limber is especially applied to the body to refer to ease of movement; it resembles flexible except that there is an idea of even greater ease in bending: a limber dancer. Pliant stresses an inherent quality or tendency to bend that does not require force or pressure from the outside; it may mean merely adaptable or may have a derogatory sense: a pliant character. 2. tractable, compliant.
1. stiff. 2. rigid. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for flexible
  • New road construction, improved road management, and more flexible work schedules could all provide some gridlock reduction.
  • So the next day they threaded a flexible tube called a bronchoscope into his lungs and dripped in the virus-gene package.
  • He showed that reactivating a memory destabilizes it, putting it back into a flexible, vulnerable state.
  • Other scientists probing different parts of the brain's memory machinery are similarly finding that memory is inherently flexible.
  • Harbored in the body's bone marrow, they are not the same as stem cells in an embryo, but they are flexible in the same way.
  • The changes have altered the protein's active site so that it's larger, more flexible and better at drawing in its target.
  • By shedding cross-links, enzymes became flexible enough to react at colder temperatures.
  • He insisted that the brain was flexible enough to learn to interpret data coming in on a different kind of channel.
  • Rather than a flexible lower jaw joint, they had a hinge between the upper jaws and the rest of the skull.
  • Indeed, the chains of seniority within pigeon flocks are fairly flexible, changing dynamically from flight to flight.
British Dictionary definitions for flexible


Also flexile (ˈflɛksaɪl). able to be bent easily without breaking; pliable
adaptable or variable: flexible working hours
able to be persuaded easily; tractable
Derived Forms
flexibility, flexibleness, noun
flexibly, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for flexible

early 15c., from Middle French flexible or directly from Latin flexibilis "that may be bent, pliant, flexible, yielding;" figuratively "tractable, inconstant," from flexus, past participle of flectere "to bend," of uncertain origin. Related: Flexibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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flexible in Medicine

flexible flex·i·ble (flěk'sə-bəl)

  1. Capable of being bent or flexed.

  2. Capable of being bent repeatedly without injury or damage.

flex'i·bil'i·ty or flex'i·ble·ness n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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