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[tan-juh-buh l] /ˈtæn dʒə bəl/
capable of being touched; discernible by the touch; material or substantial.
real or actual, rather than imaginary or visionary:
the tangible benefits of sunshine.
definite; not vague or elusive:
no tangible grounds for suspicion.
(of an asset) having actual physical existence, as real estate or chattels, and therefore capable of being assigned a value in monetary terms.
something tangible, especially a tangible asset.
Origin of tangible
1580-90; < Late Latin tangibilis, equivalent to Latin tang(ere) to touch + -ibilis -ible
Related forms
tangibility, tangibleness, noun
tangibly, adverb
nontangible, adjective
nontangibleness, noun
nontangibly, adverb
pretangible, adjective
pretangibly, adverb
quasi-tangible, adjective
quasi-tangibly, adverb
untangible, adjective
1. palpable, corporeal. 2. certain, genuine, perceptible. 3. specific. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tangibility
Historical Examples
  • He had not yet seen his bride that morning, and so her face was shadowy compared with the tangibility of those machines.

  • In them the persons of the gods had neither consistence nor tangibility.

  • The difference between the two is that of tangibility or visibility, but nothing more.

    The Japanese Spirit Yoshisaburo Okakura
  • Her imagination was making desperate efforts to reproduce the scene with the tangibility of life.

  • It exists in all things audible but has nothing to do with their tangibility or visibility.

  • She laid hands on Hilda's previous reference as a tangibility that remained with her.

    The Path of a Star Mrs. Everard Cotes (AKA Sara Jeannette Duncan)
  • She laid hands on Hilda's previous references as a tangibility that remained with her.

    Hilda Sarah Jeanette Duncan
  • There is nothing but the idea of their colour or tangibility, which can render them conceivable by the mind.

  • By that I mean, their tangibility persisted for a certain distance toward other dimensions.

    The White Invaders Raymond King Cummings
  • I seemed to be there—to have a very familiar form—but to be nothing more than form—to have no tangibility.

    Haunted Places in England Elliot O'Donnell
British Dictionary definitions for tangibility


capable of being touched or felt; having real substance: a tangible object
capable of being clearly grasped by the mind; substantial rather than imaginary: tangible evidence
having a physical existence; corporeal: tangible assets
(often pl) a tangible thing or asset
Derived Forms
tangibility, tangibleness, noun
tangibly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin tangibilis, from Latin 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 tangibility



1580s, "capable of being touched," from Middle French tangible, from Late Latin tangibilis "that may be touched," from Latin tangere "to touch" (see tangent). Sense of "material" (e.g. tangible reward) is first recorded 1610s; that of "able to be realized or dealt with" is from 1709.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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