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[takt] /tækt/
a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid giving offense; skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.
a keen sense of what is appropriate, tasteful, or aesthetically pleasing; taste; discrimination.
touch or the sense of touch.
Origin of tact
1150-1200; < Latin tāctus sense of touch, equivalent to tag-, variant stem of tangere to touch + -tus suffix of v. action
Can be confused
tack, tact, track, tract.
tacks, tax.
1. perception, sensitivity; diplomacy, poise. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tact
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had the tact now to conceal his astonishment at the manner of his friend's speech.

    The Pillar of Light Louis Tracy
  • But there he had the tact to remain in the car, and Mrs. McKee's peace with Tillie was made alone.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • But because they have no tact, they are never able to agree to the same thing at the same time.

    The Curious Book of Birds Abbie Farwell Brown
  • Pete considered that he was behaving with great discernment and tact.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • But now the little mechanic exhibits a tact that almost seems to prove a knowledge of the principles of its art.

    Butterflies and Moths William S. Furneaux
British Dictionary definitions for tact


a sense of what is fitting and considerate in dealing with others, so as to avoid giving offence or to win good will; discretion
skill or judgment in handling difficult or delicate situations; diplomacy
Derived Forms
tactful, adjective
tactfully, adverb
tactfulness, noun
tactless, adjective
tactlessly, adverb
tactlessness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin tactus a touching, from tangere to touch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tact

1650s, "sense of touch or feeling" (with an isolated instance from c.1200), from Latin tactus "touch, feeling, handling, sense of touch," from root of tangere "to touch" (see tangent). Meaning "sense of "discernment, diplomacy, etc." first recorded 1804, from a sense that developed in French cognate tact.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Related Abbreviations for tact


total audit concept technique
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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