tact


tact

noun \ˈtakt\

: the ability to do or say things without offending or upsetting other people

Full Definition of TACT

1
:  sensitive mental or aesthetic perception <converted the novel into a play with remarkable skill and tact>
2
:  a keen sense of what to do or say in order to maintain good relations with others or avoid offense

Examples of TACT

  1. The peace talks required great tact on the part of both leaders.
  2. I was surprised by his lack of tact.
  3. Far from joining polite society like the debutants of the past, the kids gleefully rip through social graces, alienating friends and sacrificing tact all in the name of creating a VIP room filled with people too young to drive themselves home. —Ana Marie Cox, Time, 24 Apr. 2006

Origin of TACT

French, sense of touch, from Latin tactus, from tangere to touch — more at tangent
First Known Use: 1797

Synonym Discussion of TACT

tact, address, poise, savoir faire mean skill and grace in dealing with others. tact implies delicate and considerate perception of what is appropriate <questions showing a lack of tact>. address stresses dexterity and grace in dealing with new and trying situations and may imply success in attaining one's ends <brought it off with remarkable address>. poise may imply both tact and address but stresses self-possession and ease in meeting difficult situations <answered the accusations with unruffled poise>. savoir faire is likely to stress worldly experience and a sure awareness of what is proper or expedient <the savoir faire of a seasoned traveler>.

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