[ tan-jen-shuh l ]
/ tænˈdʒɛn ʃəl /


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 forms

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tangential

British Dictionary definitions for tangential


/ (tænˈdʒɛnʃəl) /


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 Forms

tangentiality, 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