Definition of tact in English:



  • [mass noun] Skill and sensitivity in dealing with others or with difficult issues.

    ‘the inspector broke the news to me with tact and consideration’
    • ‘A controversial discussion can turn ugly very quickly, as tact is often a skill acquired at a more advanced language level.’
    • ‘It is a situation that calls for sensitivity, tact and discretion.’
    • ‘Also, saying what you think is not the most useful skill for a job that requires a fair amount of tact.’
    • ‘The office needs tact, sensitivity, and skills of an unusual order.’
    • ‘There's a swath of middle ground to consider, and given reasonable tact and grace you can probably find a spot there.’
    • ‘She lacked tact and the finesse it took to write something beautiful.’
    • ‘I know tact is difficult for you, but kindly refrain from humiliating me further.’
    • ‘The key to your personal success in this effort is to use poise, grace and tact.’
    • ‘Even now, he admired the skill and tact with which the review was written.’
    • ‘You took the time to approach the issue with a lot more tact.’
    • ‘With great tact and skill, he was able to calm the crowd and disperse them.’
    • ‘A unique combination of tact, charm, deportment and sartorial style, he was all one would wish to see in an idol.’
    • ‘Helping survivors cope with the trauma needs knowledge and tact.’
    • ‘This kind of development work requires tact and cultural sensitivity.’
    • ‘She had expected the girls to look down their noses at her obvious lack of tact and knowledge of titles and English customs.’
    • ‘You deal with difficult situations efficiently and resolve conflicts with tact.’
    • ‘In this context, putting the case for armoured divisions was something that had to be done with skill and tact.’
    • ‘In particular the issue of race was handled with tact and care.’
    • ‘She never really knew how to handle delicate situations requiring tact and sincere honesty.’
    • ‘You're totally honest but know how to deliver any piece of news with kindness, smarts and tact.’
    sensitivity, understanding, thoughtfulness, consideration, delicacy, diplomacy, discretion, discernment, judgement, prudence, judiciousness, perception, subtlety, wisdom, tactfulness
    etiquette, courtesy, cordiality, politeness, decorum, mannerliness, polish, respect, respectfulness
    savoir faire, politesse
    View synonyms


Mid 17th century (denoting the sense of touch): via French from Latin tactus touch, sense of touch, from tangere to touch.