pal·pa·ble | \ ˈpal-pə-bəl \

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 \ noun
palpably \ˈpal-pə-blē \ 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 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 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 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

The suspense over all this was palpable earlier this week. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Fox News Power Rankings: Hello, Wisconsin," 12 July 2018 On the Republican side, the action is less palpable. James Pindell,, "Four New England campaigns you should really be watching," 4 May 2018 An almost palpable yearning to overturn Citizens United permeates the political left. Paul Jenkins, Anchorage Daily News, "Left looks to Alaska to overturn rational Citizens’ United decision," 11 Feb. 2018 Stepping in the door of Amazon’s sprawling fulfillment center at Metro Air Park north of downtown Sacramento on Friday morning, the energy was almost palpable. Mark Glover, sacbee, "Sacramento facility ‘just amazing’," 9 Feb. 2018 The excitement and patriotism (and style!) is always palpable. Cheryl Wray,, "Live updates and highlights: Winter Olympics 2018 opening ceremonies," 9 Feb. 2018 The blog post was classic Dreher, both in its palpable disdain for the poor and in its dubious racial politics. Sarah Jones, New Republic, "Rod Dreher’s Race Problem," 25 Jan. 2018 The concern was especially palpable since Bieber and Gomez had been together as recently as a few months ago, only reportedly breaking up in March. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "You Really Don’t Need to Worry About Selena Gomez," 11 July 2018 Towards the end of last season, the inmates were freed from two of their most palpable threats., "Orange Is The New Black," 29 June 2018

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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palpal organ

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Last Updated

25 Aug 2018

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

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English Language Learners Definition of palpable

: obvious and noticeable


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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More from Merriam-Webster on palpable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for palpable

Spanish Central: Translation of palpable

Nglish: Translation of palpable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of palpable for Arabic Speakers

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