Definition of tangential
- tangential forces
Their romance is tangential to the book's main plot.
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In geometry, a tangent is a straight line that touches a curve at a single point. So we say that someone who starts talking about one thing and gets sidetracked has gone off on a tangent. The new subject is tangential to the first subject—it touches it and moves off in a different direction.
: slightly or indirectly related to something : not closely connected to something
geometry : relating to a tangent : in or along a tangent
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