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  1. readily or plainly seen, heard, perceived, etc.; obvious; evident: a palpable lie; palpable absurdity.
  2. capable of being touched or felt; tangible.
  3. Medicine/Medical. perceptible by palpation.
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Origin of palpable

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin palpābilis that can be touched, equivalent to palpā(re) to stroke, touch, palpate1 + -bilis -ble
Related formspal·pa·bil·i·ty, pal·pa·ble·ness, nounpal·pa·bly, adverbnon·pal·pa·bil·i·ty, nounnon·pal·pa·ble, adjectivenon·pal·pa·bly, adverbun·pal·pa·ble, adjectiveun·pal·pa·bly, adverb


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for palpably


  1. (usually prenominal) easily perceived by the senses or the mind; obviousthe excuse was a palpable lie
  2. capable of being touched; tangible
  3. med capable of being discerned by the sense of toucha palpable tumour
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Derived Formspalpability or palpableness, nounpalpably, adverb

Word Origin

C14: from Late Latin palpābilis that may be touched, from Latin palpāre to stroke, 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

Word Origin and History for palpably



late 14c., "that can be touched," from Late Latin palpabilis "that may be touched or felt," from Latin palpare "touch gently, stroke" (see feel (v.)). Figurative sense of "easily perceived, evident" also is from late 14c. Related: Palpably.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

palpably in Medicine


  1. Perceptible to touch; capable of being palpated.
  2. Evident; obvious.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.