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

This problem is now becoming more tractable, thanks to robust systems in development that rely on readily available energy from the sun. Donna J. Nelson, Scientific American, "Off-Grid Devices Draw Drinking Water from Dry Air," 26 June 2017 Maybe increasing clearance rates for serial killers is more tractable, an easier lift than bringing those numbers down. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Criminal profiling doesn’t work. TV shows should maybe stop celebrating it.," 12 Nov. 2018 The related ethical issues would be considerable, but nevertheless tractable. Adrian Woolfson, WSJ, "‘The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth’ Review: Desperate Remedies," 12 Dec. 2018 On the flip side, a less tractable cat (say, one who growls or hisses when frightened) may scratch and claw her way out of your lap to avoid the procedure. Dr. Rob Sharp, Country Living, "Can I Cut My Cat's Nails at Home?," 10 Mar. 2010 Visionary thought leaders like Gevers, who took Silicon Valley’s monopoly on startup financing to be a more tractable menace than African sheriffs, seemed by comparison exceptionally reasonable. Gideon Lewis-kraus, WIRED, "The Blockchain: A Love Story—And a Horror Story," 18 June 2018 Some techniques, such as selective breeding, are immediately tractable, inexpensive and effective. Rebecca Albright, Scientific American, "Scientists Are Taking Extreme Steps to Help Corals Survive," 1 Jan. 2018 And the film gets plenty of pathos out of Andy’s relationship with Rosie, a generally sweet and tractable kid who’s too young to understand any of what’s going on, but not too young to respond warmly to displays of affection. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Netflix’s Cargo has a few new ideas for the zombie genre," 21 Apr. 2018 Given its capacity for summary violence, the 720S is surreally tractable at low speeds, happy to burble around town in 1st and 2nd gear, the powertrain mode-selector on Comfort, its silencers on maximum. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Why the $285,000 McLaren 720S Is the Shape of Things to Come," 13 July 2017

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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Statistics for tractable

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for tractable

The first known use of tractable was in 1502

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tractable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tractable

Britannica English: Translation of tractable for Arabic Speakers

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