Often, plastics. any of a group of synthetic or natural organic materials that may be shaped when soft and then hardened, including many types of resins, resinoids, polymers, cellulose derivatives, casein materials, and proteins: used in place of other materials, as glass, wood, and metals, in construction and decoration, for making many articles, as coatings, and, drawn into filaments, for weaving. They are often known by trademark names, as Bakelite, Vinylite, or Lucite.
a credit card, or credit cards collectively, usually made of plastic: He had a whole pocketful of plastic.
money, payment, or credit represented by the use of a credit card or cards.
something, or a group of things, made of or resembling plastic: The entire meal was served on plastic.
made of plastic.
capable of being molded or of receiving form: clay and other plastic substances.
produced by molding: plastic figures.
having the power of molding or shaping formless or yielding material: the plastic forces of nature.
being able to create, especially within an art form; having the power to give form or formal expression: the plastic imagination of great poets and composers.
Fine Arts.
concerned with or pertaining to molding or modeling; sculptural.
relating to three-dimensional form or space, especially on a two-dimensional surface.
pertaining to the tools or techniques of drawing, painting, or sculpture: the plastic means.
characterized by an emphasis on formal structure: plastic requirements of a picture.
pliable; impressionable: the plastic mind of youth.
giving the impression of being made of or furnished with plastic: We stayed at one of those plastic motels.
artificial or insincere; synthetic; phony: jeans made of cotton, not some plastic substitute; a plastic smile.
lacking in depth, individuality, or permanence; superficial, dehumanized, or mass-produced: a plastic society interested only in material acquisition.
of or pertaining to the use of credit cards: plastic credit; plastic money.
Biology, Pathology, formative.
Surgery. concerned with or pertaining to the remedying or restoring of malformed, injured, or lost parts: a plastic operation.

1625–35; 1900–10 for def 1; < Latin plasticus that may be molded < Greek plastikós. See -plast, -ic

plastically, plasticly, adverb
nonplastic, adjective, noun
unplastic, adjective

11. pliant, flexible, amenable.
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World English Dictionary
plastic (ˈplæstɪk, ˈplɑːs-)
1.  Compare resin any one of a large number of synthetic usually organic materials that have a polymeric structure and can be moulded when soft and then set, esp such a material in a finished state containing plasticizer, stabilizer, filler, pigments, etc. Plastics are classified as thermosetting (such as Bakelite) or thermoplastic (such as PVC) and are used in the manufacture of many articles and in coatings, artificial fibres, etc
2.  short for plastic money
3.  made of plastic
4.  easily influenced; impressionable: the plastic minds of children
5.  capable of being moulded or formed
6.  fine arts
 a.  of or relating to moulding or modelling: the plastic arts
 b.  produced or apparently produced by moulding: the plastic draperies of Giotto's figures
7.  having the power to form or influence: the plastic forces of the imagination
8.  biology of or relating to any formative process; able to change, develop, or grow: plastic tissues
9.  of or relating to plastic surgery
10.  slang superficially attractive yet unoriginal or artificial: plastic food
[C17: from Latin plasticus relating to moulding, from Greek plastikos, from plassein to form]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1632, "capable of shaping or molding," from L. plasticus, from Gk. plastikos "able to be molded, pertaining to molding," from plastos "molded," from plassein "to mold" (see plasma). Surgical sense of "remedying a deficiency of structure" is first recorded 1839. The noun
meaning "solid substance that can be molded" is attested from 1905, originally of dental molds (Plasticine, a trade name for a modeling clay substitute, is from 1897). Main modern meaning, "synthetic product made from oil derivatives," first recorded 1909, coined by Leo Baekeland (see bakelite). Picked up in counterculture slang as an adj. meaning "false, superficial" (1963).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

plastic plas·tic (plās'tĭk)

  1. Capable of being shaped or formed.

  2. Easily influenced; impressionable.

  3. Capable of building tissue; formative.

Any of various organic compounds produced by polymerization, capable of being molded, extruded, cast into various shapes and films, or drawn into filaments used as textile fibers.
plas·tic'i·ty (plās-tĭs'ĭ-tē) 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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
plastic  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (plās'tĭk)  Pronunciation Key 
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.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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