adjective pal·pa·ble \ˈpal-pə-bəl\

Definition of palpable

  1. 1 :  capable of being touched or felt :  tangible palpable lymph nodes

  2. 2 :  easily perceptible :  noticeable a palpable difference The attraction between them was palpable.

  3. 3 :  easily perceptible by the mind :  manifest


play \ˌpal-pə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun


play \ˈpal-pə-blē\ adverb

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Examples of palpable in a sentence

  1. A positive patch-test result, measured by a visible and palpable localized response, denotes a delayed hypersensitivity response … —Simon Kallal et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 7 Feb. 2008

  2. When I'm back in nature after months of walking around on concrete and living in boxes, I feel a palpable internal shift. —Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006

  3. As pushcart vendors manned the stadium concourses, ringing bicycle bells and selling E-lados ice cream in paper cups, and concessionaires poured shots of Cutty Sark and blended piña coladas, there was a palpable sense of spirit. —Daniel G. Habib, Sports Illustrated, 21 Apr. 2003

  4. I felt a palpable sense of relief.

  5. The attraction between them was palpable.

  6. There was a palpable excitement in the air as the town prepared for the festival.

Did You Know?

The word palpable has been used in English since the 14th century. It derives from the Latin word palpare, meaning "to stroke" or "to caress"—the same root that gives us the word palpitation. The Latin verb is also a linguistic ancestor of the verb feel. Palpable can be used to describe things that can be felt through the skin, such as a person's pulse, but even more frequently it is used in reference to things that cannot be touched but are still so easy to perceive that it is as though they could be touched—such as "a palpable tension in the air."

Origin and Etymology of palpable

Middle English, from Late Latin palpabilis, from Latin palpare to stroke, caress — more at feel

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of palpable

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.

PALPABLE Defined for English Language Learners


adjective pal·pa·ble \ˈpal-pə-bəl\

Definition of palpable for English Language Learners

  • : obvious and noticeable

Medical Dictionary


adjective pal·pa·ble \ˈpal-pə-bəl\

Medical Definition of palpable

  1. :  capable of being touched or felt; especially :  capable of being examined by palpation the tip of the spleen was questionably palpableJournal of the American Medical Association

Seen and Heard

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


a brief usually trivial fact

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