tangent

13 ENTRIES FOUND:

1tan·gent

adjective \ˈtan-jənt\

Definition of TANGENT

1
a :  meeting a curve or surface in a single point if a sufficiently small interval is considered <straight line tangent to a curve>
b (1) :  having a common tangent line at a point <tangent curves>
(2) :  having a common tangent plane at a point <tangent surfaces>
2
:  diverging from an original purpose or course :  irrelevant <tangent remarks>

Origin of TANGENT

Latin tangent-, tangens, present participle of tangere to touch; perhaps akin to Old English thaccian to touch gently, stroke
First Known Use: 1594

Other Mathematics and Statistics Terms

abscissa, denominator, divisor, equilateral, exponent, hypotenuse, logarithm, oblique, radii, rhomb

Rhymes with TANGENT

2tangent

noun

geometry : a line that touches a sphere or circle at only one point

Full Definition of TANGENT

1
a :  the trigonometric function that for an acute angle is the ratio between the leg opposite to the angle when it is considered part of a right triangle and the leg adjacent
b :  a trigonometric function that is equal to the sine divided by the cosine for all real numbers θ for which the cosine is not equal to zero and is exactly equal to the tangent of an angle of measure θ in radians
2
:  a line that is tangent; specifically :  a straight line that is the limiting position of a secant of a curve through a fixed point and a variable point on the curve as the variable point approaches the fixed point
3
:  an abrupt change of course :  digression <the speaker went off on a tangent>
4
:  a small upright flat-ended metal pin at the inner end of a clavichord key that strikes the string to produce the tone

Examples of TANGENT

  1. <in the middle of her description of her dog's symptoms, she went off on a tangent about its cute behavior>

Origin of TANGENT

New Latin tangent-, tangens, from linea tangens tangent line
First Known Use: 1594

Other Mathematics and Statistics Terms

abscissa, denominator, divisor, equilateral, exponent, hypotenuse, logarithm, oblique, radii, rhomb

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: tangental
Previous Word in the Dictionary: tang end
All Words Near: tangent

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up tangent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More