1 of 2


tan·​gi·​ble ˈtan-jə-bəl How to pronounce tangible (audio)
: capable of being perceived especially by the sense of touch : palpable
: substantially real : material
: capable of being precisely identified or realized by the mind
her grief was tangible
: capable of being appraised at an actual or approximate value
tangible assets
tangibility noun
tangibleness noun
tangibly adverb


2 of 2


tan·​gi·​ble ˈtan-jə-bəl How to pronounce tangible (audio)
: something that is tangible (see tangible entry 1)
especially : an asset capable of being appraised at an actual or approximate value

Did you know?

Something that's literally tangible can be touched. A rock is tangible, and so is a broken window; if the rock is lying next to the window, it could be tangible evidence of vandalism. When we say that the tension in a room is tangible, we mean we feel it so strongly that it seems almost physical. But if we're being literal, tension, like hope, happiness, and hunger, is literally intangible—it may be real, but it can't be touched. When lawyers talk about an intangible asset, they might mean something like a company's good reputation—very valuable, but not quite touchable.

Choose the Right Synonym for tangible

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

Examples of tangible in a Sentence

Adjective These days, an environmentally conscious motorist can walk into a Toyota or Honda dealer and snap up an efficient gasoline-electric hybrid, but the omega point of green driving—the pollution-free hydrogen fuel cell vehicle—is so elusive that one wonders if it will ever become tangible. Brad Lemley, Discover, October 2002
Piniella has no interest in casino gambling, but the horses and the stock market have fascinated him because, he discovered, the payoff is in the satisfaction of doping out the winner as much as it is in the tangible reward. Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated, 19 Mar. 2001
This barbed wire, this flattened earth opposite Louie's bestrewn yard, served as a tangible reminder that I was an outsider looking in … Julie Matheson, Geographical Review, January-April 2001
Traveling alone does have tangible drawbacks: One of the biggest is cost. Taking a trip alone is normally more expensive for one than for half of a pair. Betsy Wade, New York Times, 20 July 1997
There is no tangible evidence to support her claim. Their sense of relief was almost tangible. Noun In this agora, the price of what you buy and sell need bear no implacable relationship to any tangibles. Jodie Allen, New Republic, 5 June 2000
The nightly highlight packages confront old-timers with videotaped evidence that they didn't have the same tangibles as today's NBA players. Alexander Wolff, Sports Illustrated Classic, Fall 1991
They were betting that inflation would drive prices much higher. The smart speculator could then sell the commodities or other tangibles, repay the loans, and reap a quick profit. William Greider, New Yorker, 9 Nov. 1987
See More
Recent Examples on the Web
This hands-on due diligence assesses and validates tangible potential, ensuring investments are precisely aligned with strategic goals for long-term sustainability. Ian Wilding, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 Whereas a wind farm that will kill golden eagles is tangible, easy to grasp. Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times, 21 Nov. 2023 These contributions can provide real, tangible benefits to those countries that need them most. Jessica F. Green, Foreign Affairs, 20 Nov. 2023 Even better, Biden won some tangible (though minor) benefits. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 16 Nov. 2023 Representation is concrete, tangible, and such wins are more easily measurable. Ruth Umoh, Fortune, 15 Nov. 2023 The Big Joy Project, created by Simon-Thomas and researchers from over 10 Universities, including Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, translates small and tangible interventions reported to improve overall well-being into a seven-day digital happiness program. Byalexa Mikhail, Fortune Well, 14 Nov. 2023 Find it on Amazon Create Memories With This Fujifilm Smartphone Printer Turn smartphone pictures into tangible memories with this high-tech Fujifilm smartphone printer. Samantha Booth, Rolling Stone, 17 Nov. 2023 It is housed in a former jail; for all its on-trend glitz and glamor, there are still prisoners’ etchings in the walls, giving guests a surprising, tangible connection to the past. Jacqui Gifford, Travel + Leisure, 16 Nov. 2023
But these A-list customers aren’t just attracted to J Craft’s tangibles. Kevin Koenig, Robb Report, 30 Oct. 2023 There are real tangibles that always come out of everybody’s experience that decides to invest in attending. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 10 Oct. 2023 Leads them in many tangibles (96 hits, 157 total bases) and also intangibles, setting the tone as a leadoff hitter and with his work ethic. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 29 June 2023 Like Ludwig von Mises and so many other free thinkers, Tolstoy was pointing out that during times of uncertainty, there’s a flight to tangibles. John Tamny, Forbes, 3 May 2023 Every surviving team has the tangibles of talent. Dave Hyde, Sun Sentinel, 28 Mar. 2023 Tokenization of any asset tends to inherit a large amount of benefits such as making the respective asset tangible, and the same goes for data. Philipp Sandner, Forbes, 6 July 2021 For Americans living in cities like New York, the reality of the pandemic has been obvious since March, when round-the-clock sirens and nightly cheers for healthcare workers made the virus’s impact tangible even for those who escaped infection. Katie Palmer, Quartz, 11 Dec. 2020 After battling plantar fasciitis in 2019, a 14-hit, two-homer postseason gave him more tangibles to bring into free agency. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 5 Nov. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tangible.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Adjective and Noun

Late Latin tangibilis, from Latin tangere to touch

First Known Use


1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tangible was in 1589

Dictionary Entries Near tangible

Cite this Entry

“Tangible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tangible. Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
tan·​gi·​ble ˈtan-jə-bəl How to pronounce tangible (audio)
: capable of being touched
: capable of being understood and appreciated
tangibility noun
tangibly adverb


2 of 2 noun
: something tangible


from Latin tangibilis "tangible," from tangere "to touch" — related to contact, tactile, tangent

Legal Definition


tan·​gi·​ble ˈtan-jə-bəl How to pronounce tangible (audio)
: capable of being perceived especially by the sense of touch

More from Merriam-Webster on tangible

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!