trac·​ta·​ble | \ ˈtrak-tə-bəl How to pronounce tractable (audio) \

Definition of tractable

1 : capable of being easily led, taught, or controlled : docile a tractable horse
2 : easily handled, managed, or wrought : malleable

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Other Words from tractable

tractability \ ˌtrak-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce tractability (audio) \ noun
tractableness \ ˈtrak-​tə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce tractableness (audio) \ noun
tractably \ ˈtrak-​tə-​blē How to pronounce tractably (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for tractable

obedient, docile, tractable, amenable mean submissive to the will of another. obedient implies compliance with the demands or requests of one in authority. obedient to the government docile implies a predisposition to submit readily to control or guidance. a docile child tractable suggests having a character that permits easy handling or managing. tractable animals amenable suggests a willingness to yield or cooperate because of a desire to be agreeable or because of a natural open-mindedness. amenable to new ideas

Did You Know?

Obedient, docile, and amenable are synonyms of tractable, but those four words have slightly different shades of meaning. Tractable describes an individual whose character permits easy handling, while docile implies a predisposition to submit readily to authority. Obedient is often used to describe compliance with authority, although that compliance is not necessarily offered eagerly. Amenable, on the other hand, is usually used when one cooperates out of a desire to be agreeable. Tractable dates from the early 16th century and derives from the Latin verb tractare ("to handle" or "to treat"). Despite the resemblance, this root did not give us the noun tractor or verbs such as contract or attract-those all derive from a loosely related Latin verb trahere ("to draw or drag").

Examples of tractable in a Sentence

This new approach should make the problem more tractable. He's a very tractable child.
Recent Examples on the Web And the holographic principle proved to be a useful mathematical trick for making their calculations more tractable, at least in the case of certain theoretical types of black holes. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Nature’s cosmic hard drive? Black holes could store information like holograms," 4 June 2020 As tens of millions of us continue to shelter in place, the most tractable of teens are feeling frustrated and anxious. Lisa Boone, Los Angeles Times, "Teens are feeling lonely and anxious in isolation. Here’s how parents can help," 29 Apr. 2020 In which case, this will lead to problems on the fiscal side that are probably tractable. CBS News, "Transcript: Olivier Blanchard speaks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 29 Apr. 2020 Even real problems in the economic relationship, the theft of intellectual property prominent among them, are more tractable to Washington when China has more to lose. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "‘More Cowbell!’," 26 Mar. 2020 The idea of mapping the early Universe with 21-cm photons received only sporadic attention for three decades, but technological advancements in the past few years have made the technique look more tractable. Davide Castelvecchi, Scientific American, "The Quest to Unlock the Secrets of the Baby Universe," 26 Aug. 2019 Big data shows the power of deep learning Backpropagation made deeper networks more computationally tractable, but those deeper networks still required more computing resources than shallower networks. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "How neural networks work—and why they’ve become a big business," 2 Dec. 2019 The non-neglectedness of K-12 education in America itself makes the issue less tractable, for the reasons described above. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Billionaires are spending their fortunes reshaping America’s schools. It isn’t working.," 30 Oct. 2018 These problems would be more tractable if the bank had done more to slim down. Washington Post, "Wanted: A Dynamic Outsider for HSBC," 5 Aug. 2019

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

1502, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tractable

Latin tractabilis, from tractare to handle, treat

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Time Traveler for tractable

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The first known use of tractable was in 1502

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Last Updated

22 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tractable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for tractable


How to pronounce tractable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tractable

: easily managed or controlled
: willing to learn or be guided by another

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More from Merriam-Webster on tractable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tractable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tractable

Britannica English: Translation of tractable for Arabic Speakers

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