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Definition of "tangent" []

  • Making contact at a single point or along a line; touching but not intersecting. (adjective)
  • Irrelevant. (adjective)
  • A line, curve, or surface meeting another line, curve, or surface at a common point and sharing a common tangent line or tangent plane at that point. (noun)
  • Mathematics The trigonometric function of an acute angle in a right triangle that is the ratio of the length of the side opposite the angle to the length of the side adjacent to the angle. (noun)
  • A sudden digression or change of course: went off on a tangent during the courtroom argument. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "tangent" in a sentence
  • "An argument can be made, but I think that the tangent is a bit too subtle for this discussion."
  • "However, a tangent is also a powerful tool if used with skill."
  • "The “Jebediah Whateley” tangent is completely gone."