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[trak-tuh-buh l] /ˈtræk tə bəl/
easily managed or controlled; docile; yielding:
a tractable child; a tractable disposition.
easily worked, shaped, or otherwise handled; malleable.
Origin of tractable
1495-1505; < Latin tractābilis, equivalent to tractā(re) to handle, deal with (frequentative of trahere to draw) + -bilis -ble
Related forms
tractability, tractableness, noun
tractably, adverb
nontractability, noun
nontractable, adjective
nontractableness, noun
nontractably, adverb
untractability, noun
untractable, adjective
untractableness, noun
untractably, adverb
1. manageable, willing, governable.
1. stubborn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tractable
  • What is really remarkable about these animals is how gentle they are, how tractable.
  • Alongside such inherently untestable proposals, however, are some more tractable ones.
  • The engineering challenge is far more tractable than big companies' collective will to undertake it.
  • The narrowing of focus allowed concentration on problems that were more tractable and applicable.
  • Your semantic flight of fantasy aside, there are serious attempts to make semantic grammar computer tractable.
British Dictionary definitions for tractable


easily controlled or persuaded
readily worked; malleable
Derived Forms
tractability, tractableness, noun
tractably, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin tractābilis, from tractāre to manage, from trahere to draw
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 tractable

"manageable," early 15c., from Latin tractabilis "that may be touched, handled, or managed," from tractare "to handle, manage" (see treat). Related: Tractability.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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