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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web There’s more palpable empathy, chased by a jolt of shock and revulsion, when the film zeroes in on local tribespeople maintaining their everyday routine amid the tumult. Guy Lodge, Variety, 9 Aug. 2022 If the business makes it down the road a bit toward growth, establishment and expansion, then energy levels may remain high and the inertia to innovate remain palpable. Victoria Pelletier, Forbes, 8 Aug. 2022 The emotion was raw and real, the piercing pain in every word palpable. Christopher L. Gasper,, 6 Aug. 2022 Gay rights advocates said Mr. Shadskykh is one of hundreds — possibly thousands — of L.G.B.T. military recruits, facing a lack of legal rights for them and their partners that suddenly poses a palpable challenge in wartime. New York Times, 2 Aug. 2022 Sitting among the brass and near the percussion, that sense of empowerment in the players seemed not only credible but palpable. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 1 Aug. 2022 There’s a lot going on behind that casual invitation — a palpable one-who-got-away sense of pining. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 28 July 2022 The threat of political violence is almost palpable. Dan Kaufman, The New Yorker, 25 July 2022 Tensions between Lebanese and Syrians are increasingly palpable. Kareem Chehayeb, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 July 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

13 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Palpable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for palpable


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

More from Merriam-Webster on palpable

Nglish: Translation of palpable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of palpable for Arabic Speakers


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