Definition of palpable
- palpable lymph nodes
- a palpable difference
- The attraction between them was palpable.
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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.
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.
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."
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