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 As coronavirus vaccines started rolling out late last year, there was a palpable sense of excitement. Bloomberg News, oregonlive, "Even with COVID-19 vaccines, grim outlook puts robust travel recovery out a few ... years," 7 Feb. 2021 As Heathcliff, Laurence Olivier is mesmerizing, his torment and class resentment palpable throughout., "Celebrate romance with these movies," 4 Feb. 2021 How strange, since Oyler’s criticism is clearly animated by strong feeling and a palpable sense of mischief. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "Two Paths for the Extremely Online Novel," 1 Feb. 2021 The rivalry between the Celtics and the Cavs became palpable during their playoff confrontations. cleveland, "Memorable LeBron James moments during Cleveland Cavaliers career; King James returns Monday with Lakers (photos)," 25 Jan. 2021 Ozuna sells yearning, romantic tunes in a high, lonesome croon; Anuel’s gruff tone hints at, and sometimes revels in, a palpable darkness. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, "Anuel AA and Ozuna Are Better Off Building Separate Empires," 25 Jan. 2021 As the weeks passed, the chest pain and fever became less palpable. New York Times, "My ‘Long Covid’ Nightmare: Still Sick After 6 Months," 21 Jan. 2021 In part, that reflects still palpable tensions over the origins and authors of the movement, over who is credited and who is left out. Keeanga-yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker, "A Black Lives Matter Founder on Building Modern Movements," 18 Jan. 2021 There was a sense of palpable joy from divided families and friends in a tribal region that is perhaps more connected by blood and trade than any other regional bloc. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, "End of yearslong Saudi-Qatar feud reunites families, and a region," 13 Jan. 2021

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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Learn More about palpable

Time Traveler for palpable Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Palpable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Mar. 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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Comments on palpable

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