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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 tractable
Historical Examples
  • Flagg found him a tractable sitter, and a most interesting one.

  • Under the eye of his master he is the most tractable of all beings.

    The Philippine Islands John Foreman
  • The Alseas are not so tractable, and exhibit but little desire for improvement.

    The Indian Question (1874) Francis A. Walker
  • Do you mean that her schoolmistress does not find her tractable?

    A True Friend Adeline Sergeant
  • She tendered her now tractable guest a second cup of coffee.

    Laramie Holds the Range

    Frank H. Spearman
  • About once a month the man is sweet and tractable and engaging.

    Dear Enemy Jean Webster
  • She could hardly believe her senses—so good-natured and tractable had he invariably been.

    Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  • "'tractable' isn't just the word I'd ever apply to Prescott," he answered dryly.

    The Lady Doc

    Caroline Lockhart
  • Let me augur that a disorder so tractable may be soon removed.

    Imaginary Conversations and Poems Walter Savage Landor
  • “A most interesting occupation,” said the tractable old gentleman.

    Digging for Gold R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for tractable


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 tractable

"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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