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tangential

[tan-jen-shuh l]
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adjective
  1. pertaining to or of the nature of a tangent; being or moving in the direction of a tangent.
  2. merely touching; slightly connected: tangential information.
  3. divergent or digressive, as from a subject under consideration: tangential remarks.
  4. tending to digress or to reply to questions obliquely.
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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. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for tangentally

tangential

adjective
  1. of, being, relating to, or in the direction of a tangent
  2. Also: transverse astronomy (of velocity) in a direction perpendicular to the line of sight of a celestial objectCompare radial (def. 6)
  3. of superficial relevance only; digressive
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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 tangentally

tangential

adj.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper