Of or relating to deformation of a material in which strain is not simply a function of stress and which is such that the material will return to its original shape once the load is removed. Also: designating deformation of this kind, or a material that undergoes such deformation. Compare "elastic", "inelastic".
Whereas in elastic deformation stress is proportional to strain, in anelastic deformation the rate of increase in stress is also partly dependent on time.
1930s (in an earlier sense). From an- + elastic.