tan·gi·ble | \ ˈtan-jə-bəl \

Definition of tangible 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : capable of being perceived especially by the sense of touch : palpable

b : substantially real : material

2 : capable of being precisely identified or realized by the mind her grief was tangible

3 : capable of being appraised at an actual or approximate value tangible assets


tan·gi·ble | \ ˈtan-jə-bəl \

Definition of tangible (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is tangible (see tangible entry 1) especially : an asset capable of being appraised at an actual or approximate value

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Other words from tangible


tangibility \ˌtan-jə-ˈbi-lə-tē \ noun
tangibleness \ˈtan-jə-bəl-nəs \ noun
tangibly \ˈtan-jə-blē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for tangible

Synonyms: Adjective

palpable, touchable

Antonyms: Adjective

impalpable, intangible

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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

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.

Examples of tangible in a Sentence


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.


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

That is about twice as much as a decade ago - one of the most tangible indicators of China’s rapidly swelling consumer class. Michael Holtz, The Christian Science Monitor, "Beijing gets tough on trash," 5 July 2018 The most tangible expansion in the works is a $1.1 billion extension of the express toll lanes in the Interstate 95 corridor, north of Baltimore, where construction is expected to begin next year. Washington Post, "Maryland races to catch up with Virginia in toll road projects," 30 June 2018 And rather than keeping a single-minded focus on nuclear weapons, Trump suggested that the most tangible outcome of his meeting in Singapore might be some kind of peace agreement to formally end the Korean War. BostonGlobe.com, "Trump’s Korea plan echoes strategies tried in past," 2 June 2018 Then there’s Ted Hayes, 67, a lean and lanky Los Angeles activist for the homeless whose most tangible success was Dome Village: 18 portable, fiberglass domed housing units built in 1993 on a parking lot next to a freeway onramp. Louis Sahagun, latimes.com, "To build his 'big, beautiful park,' this landowner is filling a canyon with debris. Critics say he built a dump," 31 May 2018 Residents see tangible change and better understand how government works. Michaelle Bond, Philly.com, "WiFi? Street repairs? Parks? Cities let residents choose how to spend their tax dollars," 14 May 2018 Here are some ways that people are fighting for tangible change: As Silverstein explains, one of the issues that female filmmakers have long struggled with is access to funding. Anna Silman, The Cut, "5 Practical Strategies That Could Change Hollywood: Inclusion Riders and More," 5 Mar. 2018 Hopefully this is just the beginning of real, tangible changes for women across the country. Danielle Mcnally, Marie Claire, "In Response to #MeToo and #TimesUp, Screen Actors Guild Announces New Code of Conduct," 22 Jan. 2018 The photos, posted by people who lament the death of Chicago’s tangible past, flit through my social media feed like a parade of the condemned en route to the guillotine. Mary Schmich, chicagotribune.com, "Awful! Sad! No More! Stop demolishing Chicago's beautiful old homes," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Wagner brings plenty of tangibles to the table for NBA teams to consider. Tim Hackett, SI.com, "Embraced by a Home Away from Home, Moritz Wagner Is Finally Ready for a New Challenge," 12 June 2018 Despite these aforementioned tangibles being in place, Roberto Baggio still missed his spot kick. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 6 Weeks to Go - Roberto Baggio & the Elusive Daemon of Genius," 13 May 2018 But there are tangibles for the rookies to learn on the court as well. Mike Richman, OregonLive.com, "Trail Blazers' rookies Zach Collins, Caleb Swanigan join crowded rotation in Portland," 27 June 2017 Catherine Golladay, a senior vice president and 20-year veteran of Schwab, said those are some of the tangibles. Plain Dealer Business Staff, cleveland.com, "Charles Schwab earns top spot among large employers, with paid sabbaticals, volunteer work: Top Workplaces 2017," 18 June 2017 So focus on the tangibles, not the potential shadiness (noise is noise, innocent or not). Andrea Bonior, chicagotribune.com, "I'm not into him but he won't stop texting me. Other than ghosting, what can I do?," 7 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tangible.' 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 tangible


1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1890, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tangible


Late Latin tangibilis, from Latin tangere to touch


see tangible entry 1

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Learn More about tangible

Dictionary Entries near tangible






Tangier pea


Statistics for tangible

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tangible

The first known use of tangible was in 1589

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More Definitions for tangible



English Language Learners Definition of tangible

: easily seen or recognized

: able to be touched or felt


tan·gi·ble | \ ˈtan-jə-bəl \

Kids Definition of tangible

1 : possible to touch or handle : material Sometimes he pursued the call into the forest, looking for it as though it were a tangible thing … —Jack London, The Call of the Wild

2 : easily seen or recognized tangible benefits

Other words from tangible

tangibly \-blē \ adverb


tan·gi·ble | \ ˈtan-jə-bəl \

Legal Definition of tangible 

: capable of being perceived especially by the sense of touch

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Comments on tangible

What made you want to look up tangible? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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