plastic (plural plastics)
- (obsolete) A sculptor, moulder.
- (archaic) Any solid but malleable substance.
- A synthetic, thermoplastic, solid, hydrocarbon-based polymer.
2013 July 20, “Welcome to the plastisphere”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
- Plastics are energy-rich substances, which is why many of them burn so readily. Any organism that could unlock and use that energy would do well in the Anthropocene. Terrestrial bacteria and fungi which can manage this trick are already familiar to experts in the field. Dr Mincer and Dr Amaral-Zettler found evidence of them on their marine plastic, too.
- Any similar synthetic material, not necessarily thermoplastic.
- (colloquial) Credit or debit cards used in place of cash to buy goods and services.
2008, Lily Allen, The Fear:
- It's all about fast cars and cussing each other / but it doesn't matter cause I'm packing plastic / and that's what makes my life so **** fantastic.
- (slang) Fakeness, or a person who is fake or arrogant, or believes that they are better than the rest of the population.
2004, Rosalind Wiseman, Tina Fey, Mean Girls:
- Cady: You know I couldn't invite you. I had to pretend to be plastic.
Janis: Hey, buddy, you're not pretending anymore. You're plastic. Cold, shiny, hard plastic.
2011, Emily Kapnek, Suburgatory:
- Tessa: Pretty ironic that a box full of rubbers landed me to a town full of plastic.
- See also Wikisaurus:moldable
synthetic thermoplastic polymer
any similar synthetic material
colloquial: credit cards or debit cards
plastic (comparative more plastic, superlative most plastic)
- Capable of being moulded; malleable, flexible, pliant. [from 17th c.]
- 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, Folio Society 1973, page 103:
- the rage […] betook itself at last to certain missile weapons; which, though from their plastic nature they threatened neither the loss of life or of limb, were, however, sufficiently dreadful to a well-dressed lady.
- 1898, Journal of Microscopy (page 256)
- Plastic mud, brownish tinted, rich in floatings.
- 2012, Adam Zeman, ‘Only Connect’, Literary Review, issue 399:
- while the broad pattern of connections between brain regions is similar in every healthy human brain, their details – their number, size and strength – are thought to underpin our individuality, as synapses are ‘plastic’, shaped by experience.
- (medicine, now rare) Producing tissue. [from 17th c.]
- (dated) Creative, formative. [from 17th c.]
- the plastic hand of the Creator
- Alexander Pope
- See plastic Nature working to his end.
- (biology) Capable of adapting to varying conditions; characterized by environmental adaptability. [from 19th c.]
- Of or pertaining to the inelastic, non-brittle, deformation of a material. [from 19th c.]
- Made of plastic. [from 20th c.]
1963, Margery Allingham, “Foreword”, in The China Governess:
- A canister of flour from the kitchen had been thrown at the looking-glass and lay like trampled snow over the remains of a decent blue suit with the lining ripped out which lay on top of the ruin of a plastic wardrobe.
- Inferior or not the real thing; ersatz. [from 20th c.]
1969, Lowell D. Streiker, The gospel of irreligious religion, page 83:
- The Hippie has been replaced by the pseudo-Hippie, the plastic Hippie, the weekend Hippie
2007, Daniel Sinker, We owe you nothing: Punk Planet: the collected interviews, page 238:
- People always try to say that we're garage rock, but that scene is so plastic. Some dude in a band has tight jeans, dyed black hair, and a starving girlfriend with bangs, and people call it indie rock. It's so gross.
2008, Matt James Mason, The pirate's dilemma: how youth culture is reinventing capitalism:
- Frustrated by a globalized music industry force-feeding them plastic pop music, hackers, remixers, and activists began to mobilize...
- (slang) Fake, snobbish. Usually refers to a person.
1966, Calvin C. Hernton, White papers for white Americans, page 67:
- He kissed the white woman once, and it was so artificial, so plastic (that's the word, plastic) that one wondered why did they bother at all.
1973, Eric Berne, What do you say after you say hello?, page 120:
- In fact it seems as though there are two kinds of people in the world: real people and plastic people, as the Flower Children used to say.
2006, Catherine Coulter, Born to Be Wild, page 71:
- But I don't think she would be happy in Los Angeles — it's so plastic and cheap and they expect the women to be whores to get anywhere.
capable of being moulded; malleable, flexible, pliant
medicine: producing tissue
biology: capable of adapting to varying conditions
of or pertaining to the inelastic, non-brittle, deformation of a material
inferior or not the real thing
slang, of a person: fake, snobbish