# tangent

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Related to tangent: trigonometry, Tangent function
tangent
tan θ = a/b

## tan·gent

(tăn′jənt)
n.
1. Mathematics
a. A line, curve, or surface meeting another line, curve, or surface at a common point and sharing a common tangent line or tangent plane at that point.
b. Abbr. tan The trigonometric function of an acute angle in a right triangle that is the ratio of the length of the side opposite the angle to the length of the side adjacent to the angle.
2. A sudden digression or change of course: went off on a tangent during his presentation.
3. Music An upright pin in a keyboard instrument, especially in a clavichord, that rises to sound a string when a key is depressed and stops the string at a preset length to set the pitch.
Making contact at a single point or along a line; touching but not intersecting.

[Latin (līnea) tangēns, tangent-, touching (line), present participle of tangere, to touch; see tag- in Indo-European roots.]

## tangent

(ˈtændʒənt)
n
1. (Mathematics) a geometric line, curve, plane, or curved surface that touches another curve or surface at one point but does not intersect it
2. (Mathematics) (of an angle) a trigonometric function that in a right-angled triangle is the ratio of the length of the opposite side to that of the adjacent side; the ratio of sine to cosine. Abbreviation: tan
3. (Surveying) the straight part on a survey line between curves
4. (Music, other) music a part of the action of a clavichord consisting of a small piece of metal that strikes the string to produce a note
5. on a tangent at a tangent on a completely different or divergent course, esp of thought: to go off at a tangent.
6. (Mathematics)
a. of or involving a tangent
b. touching at a single point
7. touching
8. almost irrelevant
[C16: from Latin phrase līnea tangēns the touching line, from tangere to touch]
ˈtangency n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

## tan•gent

(ˈtæn dʒənt)

n.
1. a line or plane that touches but does not intersect a curve or surface at a point so that it is closer to the curve or surface in the vicinity of the point than any other line or plane drawn through the point.
2. Also called tan .a fundamental trigonometric function that, in a right triangle, is expressed as the ratio of the side opposite an acute angle to the side adjacent to that angle.
3. in immediate physical contact; touching; abutting.
4.
a. touching at a single point, as a tangent in relation to a curve or surface.
b. in contact along a single line or element, as a plane with a cylinder.
Idioms:
off on or at a tangent, digressing suddenly from one course of action or thought and turning to another.
[1585–90; < Latin tangent-, s. of tangēns, in phrase līnea tangēns touching line; see -ent]
tan′gen•cy (-dʒən si) n.

## tan·gent

(tăn′jənt)
1. A line, curve, or surface touching but not intersecting another.
2. The ratio of the length of the side opposite an acute angle in a right triangle to the side adjacent to the angle.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
 Noun 1 tangent - a straight line or plane that touches a curve or curved surface at a point but does not intersect it at that pointstraight line - a line traced by a point traveling in a constant direction; a line of zero curvature; "the shortest distance between two points is a straight line" 2 tangent - ratio of the opposite to the adjacent side of a right-angled triangletancircular function, trigonometric function - function of an angle expressed as a ratio of the length of the sides of right-angled triangle containing the angle
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

## tangent

noun
An instance of digressing:
Translations
مُماس، ظِل الزاوِيَه
tečnatangens
tangent
tangentti
érintõvonal
snertillsnertill, snertilínatangens
liestinėmestis į kitą pusęnukryptipasukti į kitą pusę
tangente
stycznatangens
dotyčnica

## tangent

[ˈtændʒənt] N (Geom) →
to go or fly off at a tangentsalirse por la tangente
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005

## tangent

[ˈtændʒənt] n
(MATHEMATICS)
(fig) to go off at a tangent → bifurquer
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

## tangent

n (Math) → Tangente f; to go off at a tangent (fig)(plötzlich) vom Thema abkommen or abschweifen; he went off at a tangent about flowerser schweifte plötzlich ab und fing an, über Blumen zu reden
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007

## tangent

[ˈtændʒnt] n (Geom) →
to go off at a tangent (fig) →
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995

## tangent

(ˈtӕndʒənt) noun
a line that touches a curve but does not cut it.
go off at a tangent
to go off suddenly in another direction or on a different line of thought, action etc. It is difficult to have a sensible conversation with her, as she keeps going off at a tangent.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
Then I tossed him a Yorker which he missed and it went off at a tangent as soon as it had reached the tree.
But the reason why he wants sometimes to go off at a tangent may just be that he is predestined to make the road, and perhaps, too, that however stupid the "direct" practical man may be, the thought sometimes will occur to him that the road almost always does lead somewhere, and that the destination it leads to is less important than the process of making it, and that the chief thing is to save the well-conducted child from despising engineering, and so giving way to the fatal idleness, which, as we all know, is the mother of all the vices.
You see the European war has called for the use of a large number of aeroplanes, and as the pilots of them frequently have to fight, and so can not give their whole attention to the machines, some form of automatic stabilizer is needed to prevent them turning turtle, or going off at a wrong tangent.
Suffice it that a petrel wheeled somewhere between deepening carmine and paling blue, and it took my thoughts off at an earthy tangent. I thanked God there were no big sea-birds in these latitudes; no molly-hawks, no albatrosses, no Cape-hens.
From these conflicting influences resulted a line which might become a tangent. But it was certain that the projectile would not fall directly on the moon; for its lower part, by reason of its weight, ought to be turned toward her.
The pony ran off at a sharp angle to inspect a lamp-post on the opposite side of the way, and then went off at a tangent to another lamp-post on the other side.
The creatures are always going off at a tangent into some fantastic employment, or ridiculous speculation, entirely at variance with the "fitness of things," and having no business whatever to be considered as a business at all.
The vessel seemed to go off at a tangent to its former course and leapt almost instantly from view into the fog.
His flying off at a tangent was indisputably natural.
The Frenchman, who was on his legs, in the act of springing from the sleigh, took an aerial flight also, much in the attitude which boys assume when they play leap-frog, and, flying off in a tangent to the curvature of his course, came into the snow-bank head foremost, w-here he remained, exhibiting two lathy legs on high, like scarecrows waving in a corn- field.
Start now on that farthest western way, which does not pause at the Mississippi or the Pacific, nor conduct toward a wornout China or Japan, but leads on direct, a tangent to this sphere, summer and winter, day and night, sun down, moon down, and at last earth down too.
"Say!" Billy went off at a tangent. "By next winter, with everything hummin' an' shipshape, what's the matter with us makin' a visit to Carmel?

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