When you flex something, you bend or contract it. To appear super tough, you might flex your archery bow while flexing your muscles.

Things curve and bend when they flex, whether they're human joints or objects made of a bendable material like plastic or soft wood. Another way to flex is to tense or contract a muscle: "The weightlifter flexes her biceps." Experts suspect that flexible came first, from the Latin root flexibilis, "flexible, pliant, or yielding," and figuratively, "tractable, or easily influenced."

Definitions of flex
  1. verb
    cause (a plastic object) to assume a crooked or angular form
    synonyms: bend, deform, turn, twist
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    free from flexure
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    dent, indent
    make a depression into
    cause to curve inward
    twist into a state of deformity
    bend into the shape of a crank
    convolute, convolve
    curl, wind, or twist together
    type of:
    change form, change shape, deform
    assume a different shape or form
  2. verb
    form a curve
    synonyms: bend
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    straighten, unbend
    straighten up or out; make straight
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    crook, curve
    bend or cause to bend
    arc, arch, curve
    form an arch or curve
    bend inwards
    replicate, retroflex
    bend or turn backward
    angle, lean, slant, tilt, tip
    to incline or bend from a vertical position
    bend, bow, crouch, stoop
    bend one's back forward from the waist on down
    double, double over, double up
    bend over or curl up, usually with laughter or pain
    cower, crawl, creep, cringe, fawn, grovel
    show submission or fear
    curl, curl up, draw in
    shape one's body into a curl
    curve or bend (something) back or down
    curve upward in the middle
    incline, pitch, slope
    be at an angle
    cause to slope
    heel, list
    tilt to one side
    lean back, recline
    move the upper body backwards and down
    crouch down
    cower, huddle
    crouch or curl up
    type of:
    change form, change shape, deform
    assume a different shape or form
  3. verb
    bend a joint
    flex your wrists”
    synonyms: bend
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    type of:
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  4. noun
    the act of flexing
    “he gave his biceps a flex to impress the ladies”
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    type of:
    flexion, flexure
    act of bending a joint; especially a joint between the bones of a limb so that the angle between them is decreased
  5. verb
    flex a muscle”
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    type of:
    contract, shrink
    become smaller or draw together
  6. verb
    exhibit the strength of
    “The victorious army flexes its invincibility”
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    type of:
    flash, flaunt, ostentate, show off, swank
    display proudly; act ostentatiously or pretentiously
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