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adjective tan·gi·ble \ˈtan-jə-bəl\

Simple Definition of tangible

  • : easily seen or recognized

  • : able to be touched or felt

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of tangible

  1. 1a :  capable of being perceived especially by the sense of touch :  palpableb :  substantially real :  material

  2. 2 :  capable of being precisely identified or realized by the mind <her grief was tangible>

  3. 3 :  capable of being appraised at an actual or approximate value <tangible assets>


play \ˌtan-jə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun


play \ˈtan-jə-bəl-nəs\ noun


play \-blē\ adverb

Examples of tangible in a sentence

  1. These days, an environmentally conscious motorist can walk into a Toyota or Honda dealer and snap up an efficient gasoline-electric hybrid, but the omega point of green driving—the pollution-free hydrogen fuel cell vehicle—is so elusive that one wonders if it will ever become tangible. —Brad Lemley, Discover, October 2002

  2. Piniella has no interest in casino gambling, but the horses and the stock market have fascinated him because, he discovered, the payoff is in the satisfaction of doping out the winner as much as it is in the tangible reward. —Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated, 19 Mar. 2001

  3. This barbed wire, this flattened earth opposite Louie's bestrewn yard, served as a tangible reminder that I was an outsider looking in … —Julie Matheson, Geographical Review, January-April 2001

  4. Traveling alone does have tangible drawbacks: One of the biggest is cost. Taking a trip alone is normally more expensive for one than for half of a pair. —Betsy Wade, New York Times, 20 July 1997

  5. There is no tangible evidence to support her claim.

  6. Their sense of relief was almost tangible.

Did You Know?

Something that's literally tangible can be touched. A rock is tangible, and so is a broken window; if the rock is lying next to the window, it could be tangible evidence of vandalism. When we say that the tension in a room is tangible, we mean we feel it so strongly that it seems almost physical. But if we're being literal, tension, like hope, happiness, and hunger, is literally intangible—it may be real, but it can't be touched. When lawyers talk about an intangible asset, they might mean something like a company's good reputation—very valuable, but not quite touchable.

Origin and Etymology of tangible

Late Latin tangibilis, from Latin tangere to touch

First Known Use: 1589

Synonym Discussion of tangible

perceptible, sensible, palpable, tangible, appreciable, ponderable mean apprehensible as real or existent. perceptible applies to what can be discerned by the senses often to a minimal extent <a perceptible difference in sound to a careful listener>. sensible applies to whatever is clearly apprehended through the senses or impresses itself strongly on the mind <an abrupt, sensible drop in temperature>. palpable applies either to what has physical substance or to what is obvious and unmistakable <the tension in the air was almost palpable>. tangible suggests what is capable of being handled or grasped both physically and mentally <no tangible evidence of UFOs>. appreciable applies to what is distinctly discernible by the senses or definitely measurable <an appreciable increase in income>. ponderable suggests having definitely measurable weight or importance <exerted a ponderable influence on world events>.



noun tan·gi·ble \ˈtan-jə-bəl\

Definition of tangible

  1. :  something that is tangible (see 1tangible); especially :  an asset capable of being appraised at an actual or approximate value

Examples of tangible in a sentence

  1. In this agora, the price of what you buy and sell need bear no implacable relationship to any tangibles. —Jodie Allen, New Republic, 5 June 2000

  2. The nightly highlight packages confront old-timers with videotaped evidence that they didn't have the same tangibles as today's NBA players. —Alexander Wolff, Sports Illustrated Classic, Fall 1991

  3. They were betting that inflation would drive prices much higher. The smart speculator could then sell the commodities or other tangibles, repay the loans, and reap a quick profit. —William Greider, New Yorker, 9 Nov. 1987

Origin and Etymology of tangible

(see 1tangible)

First Known Use: 1890

TANGIBLE Defined for Kids


adjective tan·gi·ble \ˈtan-jə-bəl\

Definition of tangible for Students

  1. 1 :  possible to touch or handle :  material <Sometimes he pursued the call into the forest, looking for it as though it were a tangible thing … — Jack London, The Call of the Wild>

  2. 2 :  easily seen or recognized <tangible benefits>


\-blē\ adverb

Word Root of tangible

The Latin word tangere, meaning “to touch,” and its form tactus give us the roots tang and tact. Words from the Latin tangere have something to do with touching. Something tangible is able to be touched. Contact is a meeting or touching of people or things. Something intact is unharmed, whole, and untouched. Anything tactile relates to the sense of touch.

Law Dictionary


adjective tan·gi·ble \ˈtan-jə-bəl\

Legal Definition of tangible

  1. :  capable of being perceived especially by the sense of touch

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