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[takt] /tækt/
a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid giving offense; skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.
a keen sense of what is appropriate, tasteful, or aesthetically pleasing; taste; discrimination.
touch or the sense of touch.
Origin of tact
1150-1200; < Latin tāctus sense of touch, equivalent to tag-, variant stem of tangere to touch + -tus suffix of v. action
Can be confused
tack, tact, track, tract.
tacks, tax.
1. perception, sensitivity; diplomacy, poise. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tact
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But there he had the tact to remain in the car, and Mrs. McKee's peace with Tillie was made alone.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • "Oh, I guess it wouldn't hurt them," said Yates, with a lack of tact that was not habitual.

  • In the strength of that conviction he committed a fault of tact.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • Pete considered that he was behaving with great discernment and tact.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • He was agreeable, too agreeable; he certainly had not bad manners, but he was deficient in tact.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
British Dictionary definitions for tact


a sense of what is fitting and considerate in dealing with others, so as to avoid giving offence or to win good will; discretion
skill or judgment in handling difficult or delicate situations; diplomacy
Derived Forms
tactful, adjective
tactfully, adverb
tactfulness, noun
tactless, adjective
tactlessly, adverb
tactlessness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin tactus a touching, from tangere to touch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tact

1650s, "sense of touch or feeling" (with an isolated instance from c.1200), from Latin tactus "touch, feeling, handling, sense of touch," from root of tangere "to touch" (see tangent). Meaning "sense of "discernment, diplomacy, etc." first recorded 1804, from a sense that developed in French cognate tact.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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