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[in-i-las-tik] /ˌɪn ɪˈlæs tɪk/
not elastic; lacking flexibility or resilience; unyielding.
Economics. relatively unresponsive to changes, as demand when it fails to increase in proportion to a decrease in price.
Compare elastic (def 6).
Origin of inelastic
1740-50; in-3 + elastic
Related forms
[in-i-la-stis-i-tee] /ˌɪn ɪ læˈstɪs ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
1. inflexible; rigid, uncompromising. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for inelastic
  • The dura mater is a thick and dense inelastic membrane.
  • Pricing for both sorts of purchases are driven by somewhat inelastic demand.
  • The supply of health care services is actually pretty inelastic, because it depends on relatively scarce labor.
  • Economists will certainly suggest that the criminal demand for guns is inelastic.
  • In an extremely loose labour market the employee will bear the full tax burden because his labour supply becomes more inelastic.
  • Water is price inelastic because its still on the part of the curve that is inelastic.
  • The demand for education is relatively inelastic and faces an upward sloping supply curve.
  • In general, demand for petroleum would seem to still be fairly price inelastic.
  • If demand changes by less than the price, it is price-inelastic.
  • In addition, economists say that demand for drugs is price-inelastic.
British Dictionary definitions for inelastic


not elastic; not resilient
(physics) (of collisions) involving an overall decrease in translational kinetic energy
Derived Forms
inelastically, adverb
inelasticity (ˌɪnɪlæsˈtɪsɪtɪ) noun
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 inelastic

1748, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + elastic. Figurative use attested by 1867.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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