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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
Historical Examples
  • The General had always been tractable in the hands of his son.

    The Tin Soldier Temple Bailey
  • The Alseas are not so tractable, and exhibit but little desire for improvement.

    The Indian Question (1874) Francis A. Walker
  • This insures an obedient, tractable spirit, and is the cause of all that is best in the Turkish character.

    Oriental Women Edward Bagby Pollard
  • Do you mean that her schoolmistress does not find her tractable?

    A True Friend Adeline Sergeant
  • The men accepted his decision as a reasonable one; they were all well-disposed and tractable on the whole.

    Under False Pretences Adeline Sergeant
  • She tendered her now tractable guest a second cup of coffee.

    Laramie Holds the Range Frank H. Spearman
  • The Paca very easily becomes domesticated, and is very gentle and tractable, unless when much irritated.

    Buffon's Natural History. Volume VII (of 10) Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon
  • About once a month the man is sweet and tractable and engaging.

    Dear Enemy Jean Webster
  • It was desperately necessary that she should be kept in a tractable mood.

    Emily Fox-Seton Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • "'tractable' isn't just the word I'd ever apply to Prescott," he answered dryly.

    The Lady Doc Caroline Lockhart
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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