adjective pal·pa·ble \ ˈpal-pə-bəl \
|Updated on: 11 Aug 2018

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


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 Medicine7 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 GoreAn Inconvenient Truth2006
  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. HabibSports Illustrated21 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.

Recent Examples of palpable from the Web

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.

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."

Origin and Etymology of palpable

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

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


Definition of palpable for English Language Learners

  • : obvious and noticeable

Medical Dictionary


adjective pal·pa·ble \ ˈpal-pə-bəl \

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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