Dictionary

1tangent

adjective tan·gent \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
May 26, 2015
sacrilegious Hear it
grossly irreverent
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