Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Capable of being bent or flexed; pliable.
  • adj. Capable of being bent repeatedly without injury or damage.
  • adj. Susceptible to influence or persuasion; tractable.
  • adj. Responsive to change; adaptable: a flexible schedule.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Capable of being flexed or bent without breaking; able to be turned, bowed, or twisted, without breaking; pliable; not stiff or brittle.
  • adj. Willing or ready to yield to the influence of others; not invincibly rigid or obstinate; tractable; manageable; ductile; easy and compliant; wavering.
  • adj. Capable or being adapted or molded; plastic,; as, a flexible language.
  • n. Something that is flexible

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Capable of being flexed or bent; admitting of being turned, bowed, or twisted, without breaking; pliable; yielding to pressure; not stiff or brittle.
  • adj. Willing or ready to yield to the influence of others; not invincibly rigid or obstinate; tractable; manageable; ductile; easy and compliant; wavering.
  • adj. Capable or being adapted or molded; plastic,.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Capable of being bent or changed in figure without breaking; specifically, not stiff; pliant; easily bent: as, a flexible rod; a flexible plant.
  • Capable of yielding to entreaties, arguments, or other moral force; that may be persuaded to compliance; not invincibly rigid or obstinate; not inexorable; ductile; manageable; tractable.
  • That may be adapted or accommodated; capable of receiving different forms, or of being applied to a variety of uses; plastic: as, a flexible language; a flexible text.
  • In music, able to execute or perform with rapidity: particularly used of the voice.
  • Synonyms Pliable, supple, limber, lithe, facile, adaptable.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. capable of being changed
  • adj. able to adjust readily to different conditions
  • adj. able to flex; able to bend easily
  • adj. bending and snapping back readily without breaking
  • adj. making or willing to make concessions

Etymologies

From Latin flexibilis, from flexus, past participle of flectere, to bend.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin flexibilis, from flectō ("I bend, curve"). Compare French flexible. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Once, liberals like Justice William Brennan relied on what he called a flexible "living Constitution."

    A Brewing Court Battle

  • Doesn't mean they're going to stop producing those vehicles, though, because Ford is increasingly turning to what it calls flexible manufacturing.

    CNN Transcript Apr 14, 2006

  • They are worried that they will not be consulted, and that Europe, NATO in particular, may be relegated to the sidelines, as the U.S. engages in what it calls flexible coalitions to prosecute its war against terrorists, as it did in Afghanistan.

    CNN Transcript Feb 2, 2002

  • Q Is he going to have one of those, what you call a flexible sigmoidoscopy?

    Press Briefing By Mike Mccurry

  • Among these is Peter Senge who wrote The Fifth Discipline, in which he calls the flexible, healthy organizational system a “learning organization”—not in the sense that it gathers information, but in that it is constantly adapting its structure, management style, strategy, and so on.

    Navigating the Winds of Change

  • While volatile items -- which he calls flexible-price goods -- have fed into the core rate of inflation in the past, most notably during the commodity-price shocks of the 1970s, they haven't done so since.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • However, based on public comments by Mr. Carney in the past year, the new five-year mandate is likely to include a forceful assertion of what he calls "flexible inflation targeting," or his right to respond to economic shocks or dangerous buildups of credit by taking longer than usual to bring inflation to the central bank's 2-per-cent target.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • "The word 'flexible' I found very interesting because generally the government has been of a fairly one-track mind," said BMO deputy chief economist Doug Porter.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • It has adopted what it calls a flexible approach, favoring military tribunals in some cases and civilian trials in others.

    Reuters: Top News

  • The Obama administration has adopted what it calls a flexible approach to terrorism suspects, favoring military commissions in some cases and civilian trials in others.

    canada.com Top Stories

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.