Word of the Day : September 22, 2016

palpable

play
adjective PAL-puh-bul

Definition

1 : capable of being touched or felt : tangible

2 : easily perceptible : noticeable

3 : easily perceptible by the mind : manifest

Did You Know?

The word palpable has been used in English since the 14th century. It derives from the Latin word palpare, meaning "to stroke" or "to caress"—the same root that gives us the word palpitation. The Latin verb is also a linguistic ancestor of the verb feel. Palpable can be used to describe things that can be felt through the skin, such as a person's pulse, but even more frequently it is used in reference to things that cannot be touched but are still so easy to perceive that it is as though they could be touched—such as "a palpable tension in the air."


Examples

The tension in the courtroom was palpable as the jury foreman stood to announce the verdict.

"The beautifully shot, meditative film takes on a palpable sense of urgency after Maria makes a fateful move, leaving both the young woman and her family in a quandary that forces them to deal with the outside world, including a harrowing trip to a hospital where no one understands their language." — David Lewis, The San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Aug. 2016



Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to create an adjective that refers to the palpable points or dots used for representing words for reading by the blind: p _ _cti _ _ rm.

VIEW THE ANSWER

Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!