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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 inelasticity
Historical Examples
  • Tendons, because of their inelasticity, are subjected to injuries peculiar to themselves.

    Lameness of the Horse John Victor Lacroix
  • The subsequent changes then produce thickening and inelasticity.

    Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension: Louis Marshall Warfield
  • The most serious evils of inelasticity in this country are seen in connection with the annual handling of the crops.

    Readings in Money and Banking Chester Arthur Phillips
  • The inelasticity of it hampered sociability—and there grew on one, too, a sense of unfitness.

  • Despite the inelasticity of his mind, he vaguely realised his bridegroom honours.

    Emily Fox-Seton Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • As the body ages, certain changes usually take place in the arteries leading to thickening and inelasticity of their walls.

    Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension: Louis Marshall Warfield
  • The most frequent criticism by immigrant leaders interviewed is the inelasticity of the public-school methods.

    New Homes for Old Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge
  • inelasticity, too, in the forms of currency most needed for small transactions, has made very real difficulties for us.

    The Value of Money Benjamin M. Anderson, Jr.
  • One of its great advantages is its inelasticity, which prevents the overrunning of gear worked by it.

    The Romance of Modern Mechanism Archibald Williams
British Dictionary definitions for inelasticity


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 inelasticity



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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