pal·​pa·​ble | \ ˈpal-pə-bəl How to pronounce palpable (audio) \

Definition of palpable

1 : capable of being touched or felt : tangible palpable lymph nodes
2 : easily perceptible : noticeable a palpable difference The attraction between them was palpable.
3 : easily perceptible by the mind : manifest

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Other Words from palpable

palpability \ ˌpal-​pə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce palpable (audio) \ noun
palpably \ ˈpal-​pə-​blē How to pronounce palpable (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Feel Out the Definition of Palpable

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."

Examples of palpable in a Sentence

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 There's a palpable feeling of community here: owner Lee McLemore stocks the store with a surprisingly large wine selection, police chief Andy Williams moonlights in the prepared-foods section and barbecues in the parking lot, and George Watkins personally fills the shelves with his superb tupelo honey. — Todd Coleman, Saveur, October 2006 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 I felt a palpable sense of relief. The attraction between them was palpable. There was a palpable excitement in the air as the town prepared for the festival.
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Recent Examples on the Web Still, there was a palpable sense of anticipation on the Benson lawn as teens lined up for their initial 1:05 p.m. class. oregonlive, "Excitement, fresh looks mark first day of in-person classes at Portland’s Benson High," 20 Apr. 2021 But in a business that spent the bulk of 2020 either in partial closure or inching toward recovery, there’s now a palpable, if cautious, sense of optimism. Melody Petersen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: A Hollywood reopening," 14 Apr. 2021 In the wake of this week’s killings, many have rallied in support of the Asian American community, producing a palpable sense of unity in the fight against anti-Asian violence. Marc Ramirez, USA TODAY, "Many Americans of color call for unity against white supremacy after Atlanta killings," 20 Mar. 2021 The palpable sense of optimism that flourished in parks and patios over the last week without material indicators of economic recovery is an early sign that the nation’s capital will have a slow and measured road to its new normal. Washington Post, "Warm weather, vaccine rollout bring optimism for D.C. business recovery, but return to normal will be slow," 13 Mar. 2021 Hey, why worry that none of that stuff was really needed in any palpable artistic sense? Chris Jones,, "Column: Michael Riedel’s latest book ‘Singular Sensation’ is about Broadway in the ’90s — the decade when the Great White Way took on a life of its own," 25 Nov. 2020 Even as the press dutifully covers his ravings about election fraud, there is a palpable sense of exhaustion. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Can the Media Break Its Trump Addiction?," 19 Nov. 2020 The tension over voting has been most palpable in Georgia. Nick Corasaniti, Star Tribune, "Election officials nationwide find no evidence of voting fraud," 10 Nov. 2020 The tension over voting has been most palpable in Georgia. Nick Corasaniti, New York Times, "The Times Called Officials in Every State: No Evidence of Voter Fraud," 10 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'palpable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of palpable

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for palpable

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

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Time Traveler for palpable

Time Traveler

The first known use of palpable was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Palpable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for palpable



English Language Learners Definition of palpable

formal : obvious and noticeable


pal·​pa·​ble | \ ˈpal-pə-bəl How to pronounce palpable (audio) \

Medical Definition of palpable

: capable of being touched or felt especially : capable of being examined by palpation the tip of the spleen was questionably palpable Journal of the American Medical Association

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