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

Other Words from tractable

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

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Docile, obedient, 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 someone 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 pull").

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 However, there is a simple operational reason why Russia may be resorting to the indiscriminate killing of civilians: Ukrainians are proving to be far less tractable to the application of military force than Putin expected. Loren Thompson, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 And there were, in fact, glimmers of a tractable path to better products — if Congress will provide billions of dollars to speed things up. Matthew Herper, STAT, 28 July 2022 Instead of taking a problem and reducing it to something tractable, a little bit of lateral thinking and application of human psychology can result in magical solutions that are often inexpensive, delightful and very effective. Thomas Loftus, WSJ, 21 July 2022 Figuring out which of these to activate under different circumstances is an economic optimization problem but computationally tractable enough that a solution could be calculated in as little as 220 seconds. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 5 June 2022 As the document took on a life of its own, tractable rubrics emerged—Does social media make people angrier or more affectively polarized? The New Yorker, 3 June 2022 Indeed, docile and tractable torque is this motor’s defining characteristic. Tim Pitt, Robb Report, 31 May 2022 To keep things computationally tractable, the team screened through all the chemicals at each generation and threw out anything that didn't look related to the target list of drugs and agricultural chemicals. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 3 May 2022 As often turns out to be the case, though, there’s One Weird Math Trick that makes the problem more tractable. Chad Orzel, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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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The first known use of tractable was in 1502

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Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tractable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on tractable

Britannica English: Translation of tractable for Arabic Speakers


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