- touching at a single point, as a tangent in relation to a curve or surface.
- in contact along a single line or element, as a plane with a cylinder.
- (in a right triangle) the ratio of the side opposite a given angle to the side adjacent to the angle.
- Also called tan. (of an angle) a trigonometric function equal to the ratio of the ordinate of the end point of the arc to the abscissa of this end point, the origin being at the center of the circle on which the arc lies and the initial point of the arc being on the x-axis. Abbreviation: tg, tgn
- (originally) a straight line perpendicular to the radius of a circle at one end of an arc and extending from this point to the produced radius which cuts off the arc at its other end.
Origin of tangent
Related formsqua·si-tan·gent, adjective
Examples from the Web for tangent
Not every tangent Jacobson follows is particularly illuminating, as he is the first to admit.
Tangent screws and bearings should be frequently inspected for dust or grit.Visual Signaling|Signal Corps United States Army
This beautiful law is usually thus expressed: The index of refraction of any substance is the tangent of its polarizing angle.Six Lectures on Light|John Tyndall
With another fierce yell the poor maniac—for such he had become—turned off at a tangent, and ran far away over the plains.The Red Man's Revenge|R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for tangent
- of or involving a tangent
- touching at a single point
Derived Formstangency, noun
Word Origin for tangent
Science definitions for tangent
Idioms and Phrases with tangent
see on a tangent.