Definition of tractable
- a tractable horse
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
This new approach should make the problem more tractable.
He's a very tractable child.
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.
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").
First Known Use: 1502See Words from the same year
balky, contrary, defiant, disobedient, froward, incompliant, insubordinate, intractable, noncompliant, obstreperous, rebel, rebellious, recalcitrant, refractory, restive, unamenable, ungovernable, unruly, untoward, wayward, willful (or wilful);
: easily managed or controlled
: willing to learn or be guided by another
What made you want to look up tractable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Confusing Words—A Quiz