mid-14c., "hammered, beaten out or shaped with a hammer," from Old French ductile or directly from Latin ductilis "that may be led or drawn," from past participle of ducere "to lead" (from PIE root *deuk- "to lead"). From 1560s as "flexible, pliable;" 1620s as "capable of being drawn out in wires or threads." Of persons, "capable of being led or drawn," 1620s. Related: Ductility.
updated on December 10, 2020