[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

Related Words for tangential

unrelated, extraneous, digressive, divergent

Examples from the Web for tangential

Contemporary Examples of tangential

Historical Examples of tangential

British Dictionary definitions for tangential



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 tangential

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper