Examples of tact in a Sentence
- Far from joining polite society like the debutants of the past, the kids gleefully rip through social graces, alienating friends and sacrificing tact all in the name of creating a VIP room filled with people too young to drive themselves home. —Ana Marie Cox, Time, 24 Apr. 2006
- The attorney general's lack of restraint and want of tact, on such an occasion … were clearly symptomatic of a considerable irritation, even rage. —Christopher Hitchens, Harper's, March 2001
- In society tact is the great art that makes for civility, for civilization … —Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadance, 2000
- He did not clear his throat with badinage, as timidity teaches us to do, nor did he waste his breath with tact. —Earl Shorris, Harper's, September 1997
- A man of gentle mien, he is inclined to use psychology and tact, rather than showboat heroics, when pursuing his murder inquiries. —Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review, 1 Jan. 1989
The peace talks required great tact on the part of both leaders.
I was surprised by his lack of tact.
Recent Examples of tact from the Web
Those require a unique blend of tact and hard-hitting emotional honesty in community theater productions.
Chee’s particular style of mind and habits of moral engagement hold the collection together; every essay, no matter the subject, exhibits warmth, rigor, tact.
Fountain Valley chose a different tact, with council members deciding to join a court brief supporting the federal lawsuit.
His charm, talent and tact had found an appreciative response in his father-in-law; Jean was, Dominique said, the son that her father, who had only daughters, never had.
But Ofo’s chief competitor, Mobike, took a different tact: redesign the bicycle from scratch.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tact.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Do you change tack or tact?
Although some believe the word tact is short for tactics in phrases like "change tact" or "try a different tact," the correct word in such contexts is tack.
Tack in "change tack" and "try a different tack" means "a course or method of action especially when sharply divergent from that previously followed.”
Tack developed this meaning from its nautical applications. In sailing, tack can refer to the direction that a ship or boat is sailing in as it moves at an angle to the direction of the wind; or to a change from one direction to another direction; or to the distance traveled while sailing in a particular direction.
Tack developed the "course or method of action" meaning near the end of the 17th century; within 100 or so years, the phrase "change tack" was being used with the figurative meaning it has today.
While there is also a long history of people using tact where tack belongs, the use is widely shunned by usage guides, which means you might want to avoid it.
Did You Know?
This word came to English directly from French (a Latin-based language), where it can also mean simply "sense of touch". Dealing with difficult situations involving other people can require the kind of extreme sensitivity that our fingertips possess. As Lincoln once said, "Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves", which doesn't usually come naturally. Someone tactful can soothe the feelings of the most difficult people; a tactless person will generally make a bad situation worse.
Synonym Discussion of tact
- questions showing a lack of tact
- brought it off with remarkable address
- answered the accusations with unruffled poise
- the savoir faire of a seasoned traveler
TACT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of tact for English Language Learners
: the ability to do or say things without offending or upsetting other people
TACT Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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