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# tangent

[ **tan**-j*uh*nt ]

## adjective

- in immediate physical contact; touching.
**Synonyms:**meeting *Geometry.*- 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.

## noun

*Geometry.*a line or a plane that touches a curve or a surface at a point so that it is closer to the curve in the vicinity of the point than any other line or plane drawn through the point.*Trigonometry.*- (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. : 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.

- the upright metal blade, fastened on the inner end of a clavichord key, that rises and strikes the string when the outer end of the key is depressed.

tangent

/ ˈtændʒənt /

## noun

- a geometric line, curve, plane, or curved surface that touches another curve or surface at one point but does not intersect it
- (of an angle) a trigonometric function that in a right-angled triangle is the ratio of the length of the opposite side to that of the adjacent side; the ratio of sine to cosine tan
- the straight part on a survey line between curves
- music a part of the action of a clavichord consisting of a small piece of metal that strikes the string to produce a note
**on a tangent or at a tangent**on a completely different or divergent course, esp of thought*to go off at a tangent*

## adjective

- of or involving a tangent
- touching at a single point

- touching
- almost irrelevant

tangent

/ tăn**′**jənt /

- A line, curve, or surface touching but not intersecting another.
- The ratio of the length of the side opposite an acute angle in a right triangle to the side adjacent to the angle. The tangent of an angle is equal to the sine of the angle divided by the cosine of the angle.
- The ratio of the ordinate to the abscissa of the endpoint of an arc of a unit circle centered at the origin of a Cartesian coordinate system, the arc being of length
*x*and measured counterclockwise from the point (1, 0) if*x*is positive or clockwise if*x*is negative. - A function of a number
*x,*equal to the tangent of an angle whose measure in radians is equal to*x.*

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## Derived Forms

**ˈtangency**, noun

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## Other Words From

**quasi-tangent**adjective

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## Word History and Origins

Origin of tangent^{1}

*Latin*

*tangent-,*stem of

*tangēns*“touching” (present participle of

*tangere*“to touch”), in phrase

*līnea tangēns*“touching line”

## Discover More

## Word History and Origins

Origin of tangent^{1}

*līnea tangēns*the touching line, from

*tangere*to touch

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## Idioms and Phrases

**off on / at a tangent,**digressing suddenly from one course of action or thought and turning to another:*The speaker flew off on a tangent.*

### More idioms and phrases containing *tangent*

see on a tangent .## Discover More

## Example Sentences

The option to create new threads from a text channel is one of the newer features added to Discord in recent months, and it can be really helpful when conversations keep going off on tangents.

The third-party cookie still stands at a crucial intersection between digital marketing, SEO, paid media, web design, and several business tangents.

Between where there were two possible directions and zero possible directions, there was one — where the line was tangent to the circle.

At no time were you allowed to venture into the wall, though you were permitted to be tangent to the wall or on a grid point along a wall.

To remove as much area as possible, each of those cuts would have been tangent to the circle while making a 45 degree angle with the sides of the square.

Then, the next morning, he did that radio show and went on his notorious tangent about Chuck Lorre.

Not every tangent Jacobson follows is particularly illuminating, as he is the first to admit.

At last the climbing trail dipped into a level tangent just below the top of the mountain.

Mr. Benjamin had been in the neighborhood, but, hearing that the enemy were in Madison, had gone off at a tangent.

The mere thought of the hospital sent her mind flying off at a tangent.

The last wipe should be a quick stroke coming off of joint on a tangent.

Two guns were for a time in the hands of the Boers, who, I believe, removed the tangent sights.

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Definitions and idiom definitions from Dictionary.com Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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