[tan-jen-shuh l]


pertaining to or of the nature of a tangent; being or moving in the direction of a tangent.
merely touching; slightly connected: tangential information.
divergent or digressive, as from a subject under consideration: tangential remarks.
tending to digress or to reply to questions obliquely.

Also tan·gen·tal [tan-jen-tl] /tænˈdʒɛn tl/.

Origin of tangential

First recorded in 1620–30; tangent + -ial
Related formstan·gen·ti·al·i·ty, nountan·gen·tial·ly, tan·gen·tal·ly, adverbnon·tan·gen·tal, adjectivenon·tan·gen·tial, adjectivenon·tan·gen·tial·ly, adverbun·tan·gen·tal, adjectiveun·tan·gen·tal·ly, adverbun·tan·gen·tial, adjectiveun·tan·gen·tial·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tangental

Historical Examples of tangental

British Dictionary definitions for tangental



of, being, relating to, or in the direction of a tangent
Also: transverse astronomy (of velocity) in a direction perpendicular to the line of sight of a celestial objectCompare radial (def. 6)
of superficial relevance only; digressive
Derived Formstangentiality, nountangentially or tangentally, adverb
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 tangental

1849, from tangent + -al (1). Related: Tangentally.



1620s, see tangent; figurative sense of "divergent, erratic" is from 1787. Related: Tangentially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper