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1630s, "capable of shaping or molding," from Latin plasticus, from Greek plastikos "able to be molded, pertaining to molding, fit for molding," also in reference to the arts, from plastos "molded, formed," verbal adjective from plassein "to mold" (see plasma). Surgical sense of "remedying a deficiency of structure" is first recorded 1839 (in plastic surgery). Meaning "made of plastic" is from 1909. Picked up in counterculture slang with meaning "false, superficial" (1963). Plastic explosive (n.) attested from 1894.
plastic plas·tic (plās'tĭk)
Capable of being shaped or formed.
Easily influenced; impressionable.
Capable of building tissue; formative.
Forming; growing; changing; developing: neoplastic.
Noun Any of numerous substances that can be shaped and molded when subjected to heat or pressure. Plastics are easily shaped because they consist of long-chain molecules known as polymers, which do not break apart when flexed. Plastics are usually artificial resins but can also be natural substances, as in certain cellular derivatives and shellac. Plastics can be pressed into thin layers, formed into objects, or drawn into fibers for use in textiles. Most do not conduct electricity well, are low in density, and are often very tough. Polyvinyl chloride, methyl methacrylate, and polystyrene are plastics. See more at thermoplastic, thermosetting.
Adjective Capable of being molded or formed into a shape.