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 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

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 This involves converting the PDE into a set of tractable algebraic equations that are assumed to hold over tiny increments of space and time. Quanta Magazine, "Latest Neural Nets Solve World’s Hardest Equations Faster Than Ever Before," 19 Apr. 2021 Think about financial systems, which are more or less algorithmically tractable. Bruce Schneier, Wired, "Hackers Used to Be Humans. Soon, AIs Will Hack Humanity," 19 Apr. 2021 In fact, questions about the nature of possible alien languages are tractable. Arik Kershenbaum, WSJ, "Alien Languages May Not Be Entirely Alien to Us," 27 Mar. 2021 Is the sitter skeptical and tense, or compliant and tractable? Washington Post, "Alice Neel was the greatest American portraitist of the 20th century. Her work continues to astonish.," 25 Mar. 2021 Writing genomes that contain millions of nucleotides, as in bacteria and yeast, has become tractable as well. Andrew Hessel, Scientific American, "Whole-Genome Synthesis Will Transform Cell Engineering," 10 Nov. 2020 Given such historical and contemporary precedents, humanity can only hope that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 will prove to be a tractable and eradicable pathogen. Nükhet Varlik, The Conversation, "How do pandemics end? History suggests diseases fade but are almost never truly gone," 14 Oct. 2020 Yet despite its appetite for revs, the T.50 also promises to be tractable: the engine produces 70 percent of its maximum 344 lb-ft of torque at just 2500 rpm. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "McLaren F1—Inspired Gordon Murray T.50 Revs to 12,100 RPM, Weighs Only 2174 Pounds," 4 Aug. 2020 None of them were comfortable, tractable, or reliable. Rich Ceppos, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1991 Ferrari F40 Feasts on the Timid," 2 July 2020

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

24 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tractable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for tractable



English Language Learners Definition of tractable

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

More from Merriam-Webster on tractable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tractable

Britannica English: Translation of tractable for Arabic Speakers

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