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tangential Line breaks: tan¦gen|tial
Pronunciation: /tanˈdʒɛnʃ(ə)l/

Definition of tangential in English:


1Relating to or along a tangent: a tangential line
More example sentences
  • If you are located near the very edge of the eclipse track the apparent disks of the Sun and the Moon glide along the same tangential line.
  • Second, we have examined perturbations in a normal rather than a tangential direction along the limit cycle.
  • His work used a special coordinate system on a surface such as isothermic and tangential coordinates.
2Diverging from a previous course or line; erratic: tangential thoughts
More example sentences
  • He generally relates the story in chronological fashion, but, like many storytellers, he often stops to present tangential information about a new character or situation.
  • I don't have any suggestions for places, but thought I'd offer some tangential information: there are all kinds of prenatal massages, so make sure you get all the info beforehand.
  • Barreto did a fair job of explaining the process of making this movie, but he often got sidetracked onto more tangential anecdotes.
2.1Hardly touching a matter; peripheral: the reforms were tangential to efforts to maintain a basic standard of life
More example sentences
  • These are all important matters but they are tangential to the most central objectives of school education, namely teaching and learning.
  • He makes the case for the artist as the most influential post-war musical artist, certainly more so than Elvis, who was influential for reasons tangential to the actual music.
  • Though tangential to the main thesis, this book also serves as an excellent briefing for the general reader on the often uninspiring and sometimes off-putting technical language of the financial world.


Example sentences
  • It proves the old point that if you call a referendum on one question, voters will often answer on the basis of other, unrelated or tangentially-related grievances.
  • A tangentially-related phone call from a reporter reminded me of this story that a law professor I know and trust told a while back.
  • One problem is that many of the subplots only tangentially brushed by the movie prove to be at least as interesting as the main story, and it become frustrating to view only snapshots of some of these tales.

Words that rhyme with tangential

cadential, confidential, consequential, credential, deferential, differential, essential, evidential, existential, experiential, exponential, influential, intelligential, irreverential, jurisprudential, penitential, pestilential, potential, preferential, presidential, providential, prudential, quintessential, referential, residential, reverential, sapiential, sciential, sentential, sequential, torrential
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