8 Wintry Words to Defrost Your Vocabulary


[tan-jen-shuh l] /tænˈdʒɛn ʃəl/
pertaining to or of the nature of a tangent; being or moving in the direction of a tangent.
merely touching; slightly connected:
tangential information.
divergent or digressive, as from a subject under consideration:
tangential remarks.
tending to digress or to reply to questions obliquely.
Also, tangental
[tan-jen-tl] /tænˈdʒɛn tl/ (Show IPA)
1620-30; tangent + -ial
Related forms
tangentiality, noun
tangentially, tangentally, adverb
nontangental, adjective
nontangential, adjective
nontangentially, adverb
untangental, adjective
untangentally, adverb
untangential, adjective
untangentially, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for tangentially
  • But it's also acceptable-maybe even preferable-if the reason it was memorable was only tangentially related to the food.
  • The part of the brain that alcoholism affects is only tangentially an area of pheromone influence.
  • All of this denial is not grounded in science, and only tangentially even related to science.
  • The whole paper is only tangentially related to this discussion.
  • Teenagers live in their own little world, only tangentially connected to the one the rest of us occupy.
  • He goes on about tangentially related topics and can really share his voice there more than in the story itself.
  • It also gives me a good opportunity to go into a tangentially related anecdote.
  • Philosophical compatibility is only tangentially related to psychological compatibility.
  • It's chockablock with features, options and related tools, some of which are only tangentially related to e-mail.
  • It was tangentially related to the meat of the government's case.
British Dictionary definitions for tangentially


of, being, relating to, or in the direction of a tangent
(astronomy) Also transverse. (of velocity) in a direction perpendicular to the line of sight of a celestial object Compare radial (sense 6)
of superficial relevance only; digressive
Derived Forms
tangentiality, noun
tangentially, tangentally, adverb
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 tangentially



1620s, see tangent; figurative sense of "divergent, erratic" is from 1787. Related: Tangentially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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