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[trak-tuh-buh l] /ˈtræk tə bəl/
easily managed or controlled; docile; yielding:
a tractable child; a tractable disposition.
easily worked, shaped, or otherwise handled; malleable.
Origin of tractable
1495-1505; < Latin tractābilis, equivalent to tractā(re) to handle, deal with (frequentative of trahere to draw) + -bilis -ble
Related forms
tractability, tractableness, noun
tractably, adverb
nontractability, noun
nontractable, adjective
nontractableness, noun
nontractably, adverb
untractability, noun
untractable, adjective
untractableness, noun
untractably, adverb
1. manageable, willing, governable.
1. stubborn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tractability
Historical Examples
  • I need not have been so surprised as I was at his tractability.

    Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
  • For once Margaret miscalculated the tractability of her father's temper.

    Anne of Geierstein Walter Scott
  • But he only said this to keep up his courage, and not to be ashamed of his tractability.

    From a Swedish Homestead Selma Lagerlf
  • Their suspicions would be lulled by my tractability and their contempt.

    The Firefly Of France Marion Polk Angellotti
  • There was nothing marvellous in the fact of her tractability thus far.

    The Well-Beloved Thomas Hardy
  • Mrs Durbeyfield was only too delighted at this tractability.

  • Avice had seen all this before he pointed it out, but, with a girl's tractability, had acquiesced.

    The Well-Beloved Thomas Hardy
  • Would that my sister added to her many great qualities the humble one of tractability!

    Charlotte Bronte and Her Circle Clement K. Shorter
  • I'm to be tractability itself, on the distinct understanding that it commits me to nothing whatever.

    When Ghost Meets Ghost

    William Frend De Morgan
  • He appeared to have reached that degree of culture that disarms viciousness and softens stubbornness into tractability.

British Dictionary definitions for tractability


easily controlled or persuaded
readily worked; malleable
Derived Forms
tractability, tractableness, noun
tractably, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin tractābilis, from tractāre to manage, from trahere to draw
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 tractability



"manageable," early 15c., from Latin tractabilis "that may be touched, handled, or managed," from tractare "to handle, manage" (see treat). Related: Tractability.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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