Definition of tangential in English:

tangential

adjective

  • 1Relating to or along a tangent.

    ‘a tangential line’
    • ‘Second, we have examined perturbations in a normal rather than a tangential direction along the limit cycle.’
    • ‘Formally then, utility is maximized at the point where the budget line is tangential to an indifference curve.’
    • ‘If you are located near the very edge of the eclipse track the apparent disks of the Sun and the Moon glide along the same tangential line.’
    • ‘Thin-sections were made in the transverse, radial, and tangential planes.’
    • ‘A Riemann surface is typical of the case, where you have the intersection of one universe, with the tangential impact of another universe upon it - [that's a] typical Riemannian surface.’
    • ‘When we overlay Figure 4.2 onto Figure 4.1, we will see that the budget constraint will be tangential to some I-curves and cut across other I-curves.’
    • ‘If a log were a perfect cylinder with uniformly thick growth layers, the figure on the surfaces of boards cut in tangential planes would be parallel markings.’
    • ‘The surface of the cap of each fungiform structure is either tangential, or slightly inclined, to the surface of the carapace.’
    • ‘So, if planes A and D are tangential, how can planes C and B be tangential?’
    • ‘In this case we deal with the situation of a local tangential force applied to the surface of a large body.’
    • ‘In yet another construction, an annular cylinder block supports a pair of opposed weighted lever arms and sample support bushings in tangential contact with a rotor surface.’
    • ‘The skilled person in 1980 would understand that the effect of the frusto-conical cone is to reduce the diameter of the vortex and consequentially increase the tangential velocity of the particles as they pass down the cone?’
    • ‘Alternatively, the struts may have the form of circles or ellipses which lie tangential to both the longitudinal profiles and to each other.’
    • ‘His work used a special coordinate system on a surface such as isothermic and tangential coordinates.’
    1. 1.1Diverging from a previous course or line; erratic.
      ‘tangential thoughts’
      • ‘Barreto did a fair job of explaining the process of making this movie, but he often got sidetracked onto more tangential anecdotes.’
      • ‘I want to emphasise that non-standard analysis was not a sudden tangential direction in which the researcher moved.’
      • ‘He generally relates the story in chronological fashion, but, like many storytellers, he often stops to present tangential information about a new character or situation.’
      • ‘You've got to have a game in your head, you have to have a strategy and you have to know what the points are on the horizon because you get quickly buffeted to run off in tangential ways.’
      • ‘I don't have any suggestions for places, but thought I'd offer some tangential information: there are all kinds of prenatal massages, so make sure you get all the info beforehand.’
      • ‘However, the literature from this domain is both too large and too tangential to consider in this article.’
      • ‘Title aside, this is less a book with a single evolving argument than a series of tangential essays.’
      • ‘In Chinese, each different tangential reference to the topic presents the idea from a different indirect perspective; however, the topic is never presented directly in the text or in the conclusion.’
      • ‘Still, the music, though admittedly provocative, almost always plays the role of sonic backdrop to her ridiculous tangential meditations, which ultimately sink the album.’
    2. 1.2Hardly touching a matter; peripheral.
      ‘the reforms were tangential to efforts to maintain a basic standard of life’
      • ‘This leads to a misleading perception that the subject has a lot to do with PDEs, which – while important – are ultimately only a tangential element of the theory and its applications.’
      • ‘Despite a number of tangential references to the shady dealings of American corporations in the Balkans and their connections to organized crime, I have not yet seen a serious and comprehensive analysis of this interesting subject.’
      • ‘This may seem tangential to design, but I would argue that the models we use to develop new technologies actually help constitute our experience of the social.’
      • ‘The second exception comes into play if the rationale underlying the patent holder's argument bears only a tangential relation to the equivalent.’
      • ‘Reducing pollution is tangential to the argument and simply serves to confuse the principles upon which debate should be based.’
      • ‘It is hard to believe that a theologian so bent on providing justification for preemptive armed conflict would find a theological account of violence tangential to the question of war.’
      • ‘He makes the case for the artist as the most influential post-war musical artist, certainly more so than Elvis, who was influential for reasons tangential to the actual music.’
      • ‘And in a way that seems to be very deeply connected with their central content, not just tangential contact, but into the heart of mathematics.’
      • ‘In fact, it's often the opposite: Speakers and participants regularly maintain that it's precisely because the event is so tangential to their daily lives that the event is so important to them.’
      • ‘These are all important matters but they are tangential to the most central objectives of school education, namely teaching and learning.’
      • ‘The focus of almost the entire chapter is on adolescent childbearing, a topic that I consider somewhat tangential to romance.’
      • ‘The report achieved this balance by transforming a supposedly tangential discussion of national reputation into its central focus.’
      • ‘They are frankly tangential to the drama, and could have been cut from the story altogether without any great loss.’
      • ‘If your Web site is only tangential to the success of your business, or if a core business activity is supported by it but not reliant on it, then ultimately the satisfaction of the end user is moot.’
      • ‘However, the authors operate under some of the same constraints listed above by interpreting statistically weak treatments tangential to the context of demographic and population models.’
      • ‘Though tangential to the main thesis, this book also serves as an excellent briefing for the general reader on the often uninspiring and sometimes off-putting technical language of the financial world.’
      • ‘This story is tangential to the subject I intended to approach, which is the true subject of my teenage crush.’
      • ‘These innovations remain relatively tangential to the mainstream art museum, however.’
      • ‘He continues to work as an environmental biologist - less tangential to his career as a writer than it might appear.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, his name is often most closely identified with these works that actually are only tangential to his primary concerns.’

Pronunciation:

tangential

/tanˈjen(t)SHəl/