• enPR: tăn'jənt, IPA: /ˈtæn.dʒənt/

tangent (plural tangents)

  1. (differential geometry) A straight line touching a curve at a single point without crossing it there.
  2. (math) A function of an angle that gives the ratio of the sine to the cosine, in either the real or complex number. Symbols: tan, tg.
  3. A topic nearly unrelated to the main topic, but having a point in common with it.
    I believe we went off onto a tangent when we started talking about monkeys on unicycles at his retirement party.
  4. (music) A small metal blade in a clavichord that strikes the strings to produce sound.
  • (straight line) tangent line
Related terms Translations Translations Translations
  • German: Nebensache
  • Russian: смежная тема

tangent (not comparable)

  1. (geometry) Touching a curve at a single point but not crossing it at that point.
  2. Of a topic, only loosely related to a main topic.

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