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When the word elastic is used as a noun, it refers to a stretchy material or an item made with this pliable substance. Bands made of it are most frequently prepared by weaving together strands of rubber, latex, or other flexible material that can return to its original shape after being stretched or extended. Elastic is most commonly used in clothing, for example, to provide support in undergarments such as girdles or bras.
Elastic is also used to create flexible waistbands. Strips of it are sewn into or onto a piece of fabric larger than the size that is needed. The waistband can then be stretched and the expanse of fabric will move with it, making it easy to slip such clothing on or off.
Arm and leg cuffs can also be made with elastic, and it is used to keep hoods in place rather than using ties. It can also work as a support with strapless tops, dresses, and bras. Other uses for it include cuffs for boots, socks, or gloves in order to keep them snug. Belts too can be made from or with elastic and headbands, wristbands, and hair accessories are often made using this stretchy material.
In home decor, elastic can be used for “skirts” for furniture such as vanities and it is often used to make bed skirts or bed ruffles that can be put on and taken off more easily than tradition styles. Small straps are also made from it that reach beneath the corners of a mattress to hold sheets in place. Stretchy thread, yarn, or cording can be used to make jewelry or to create embellishments for home accessories.
As an adjective, the word is used in reference to people or things that are flexible. An elastic attitude or personality is one of a person who adjusts or adapts well to various circumstances. An elastic policy is one that is moderate rather than rigid and may be applied leniently. Elastic skin is supple and may return to its shape after being stretched, such as when weight is lost after a sudden gain.
The terms elastic and elasticity are also used to describe some areas of economics. Simply put, flexible changes in prices can have an effect on demand for various goods or services. Even where price changes are marginal, demand may increase greatly.