Definition of tact in English:

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Pronunciation: /takt/


[mass noun]
Skill and sensitivity in dealing with others or with difficult issues: the inspector broke the news to me with tact and consideration
More example sentences
  • The office needs tact, sensitivity, and skills of an unusual order.
  • With great tact and skill, he was able to calm the crowd and disperse them.
  • A controversial discussion can turn ugly very quickly, as tact is often a skill acquired at a more advanced language level.
sensitivity, understanding, thoughtfulness, consideration, delicacy, diplomacy, discretion, discernment, judgement, prudence, judiciousness, perception, subtlety, wisdom, tactfulness;
etiquette, courtesy, cordiality, politeness, decorum, mannerliness, polish, respect, respectfulness;
French savoir faire, politesse
informal savvy


Mid 17th century (denoting the sense of touch): via French from Latin tactus 'touch, sense of touch', from tangere 'to touch'.

  • Tact in early examples referred to the sense of touch. It comes from Latin tactus ‘touch, sense of touch’, from tangere ‘to touch’. The word developed a notion of ‘sensitivity’ and in the late 18th century gained its modern sense ‘delicacy in dealing with others’. The Latin source also gave the English word tactile which in the early 17th century meant ‘perceptible by touch’, and tangible (late 16th century). Tangent (late 16th century), first used in geometry to mean ‘touching’, is also from tangere.

Words that rhyme with tact

abreact, abstract, act, attract, bract, compact, contract, counteract, diffract, enact, exact, extract, fact, humpbacked, impact, interact, matter-of-fact, pact, protract, redact, refract, retroact, subcontract, subtract, tract, transact, unbacked, underact, untracked

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: tact

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