Definition of tangential
tangentiallyplay \-ˈjen(t)-sh(ə-)lē\ adverb
Examples of tangential in a Sentence
Their romance is tangential to the book's main plot.
Recent Examples of tangential from the Web
All that, seemingly in order to provide some backing, however tangential, for Trump’s insistent belief that President Obama, or people working for him, had spied on him.
Some of Yahoo’s divisions, such as its small-business services unit, have already been designated as tangential to the company’s principal business.
The sound of the band was in a way vaguely folksy, in another way vaguely country, slightly tangential to the sound of what came to be called alt-country, or Americana.
Because Mad Men won't tell you anything that's tangential to the next leg of a character arc.
Too tangential an angle could skip the module out into space forever.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tangential'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Tangential Has Mathematical Roots
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.
First Known Use of tangential
TANGENTIAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of tangential for English Language Learners
: slightly or indirectly related to something : not closely connected to something
geometry : relating to a tangent : in or along a tangent
Seen and Heard
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