a. Capable of being bent or flexed; pliable: a flexible hose.
b. Readily bending or twisting the body without injury: You can play soccer much better if you're flexible.
2. Able to change to cope with variable circumstances: "a flexible and quietly competent administrator" (Jerome Karabel).
3. Capable of being changed or adjusted to meet particular or varied needs: a job with flexible hours; a flexible definition of normality.
[From Latin flexibilis, from flexus, past participle of flectere, to bend.]
flex′i·bili·ty, flexi·ble·ness n.
Synonyms: flexible, elastic, resilient, supple
These adjectives refer literally to what is capable of withstanding stress without damage and figuratively to what can undergo change or modification: a flexible wire; flexible plans; an elastic rubber band; an elastic interpretation of the law; thin, resilient copper; a resilient temperament; supple suede; a supple mind.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.