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as in:  tangential to our discussion

We didn’t learn a lot, but her tangential remarks were entertaining.
  touching the current issue, but with minor or no relevance
 Mark word for later review on this computer
tangent tangential tangents tangentially tangency
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  • We didn’t learn a lot, but her tangential remarks were entertaining.
  • An outline helps a speaker avoid omissions and tangential excursions.
  • It was difficult to keep him from going off on a tangent.
  • There’s only the slightest tangent with the Escher’s work from which it gets its title.

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  • It is called "tangential velocity" because the object whose velocity is being measured is always tangent to the circle.
  • Alertness to tangential aspects of problems can help scientists to postulate significance that otherwise would be missed.
  • She was tangential with her topics, and her hands gesticulated wildly, flying up with a nervousness that wasn’t like her at all.
    Khaled Hosseini  --  A Thousand Splendid Suns
  • ... "And anyway," Delia continued, ignoring this tangent, "they have strict rules about service vehicles up here by the garden."
    Sarah Dessen  --  The Truth About Forever
  • There the text went off on a tangent about how Bram Stoker had actually been...
    P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast  --  Betrayed
  • In school, they were studying Homer, tangents, tonal systems, Dred Scott, and finger whorls.
    Laurie Halse Anderson  --  The Impossible Knife of Memory

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  • She’s always going off on tangents.
    Lauren Oliver  --  Before I Fall
  • Even, like, tangentially.
    Gillian Flynn  --  Gone Girl
  • He knew he couldn’t tell stories, that he always included extraneous details and tangents that interested only him.
    John Green  --  An Abundance of Katherines
  • No, I mean, this is a tangent, but my problem with paper is that all communication dies with it.
    Dave Eggers  --  The Circle
  • I really didn’t mean to go off on a tangent, but skimping on an education is a touchy subject with me.
    Colleen Hoover  --  Hopeless
  • At this point I’m an expert at going along with her tangents.
    Katja Millay  --  The Sea of Tranquility
  • But it turned out that my errors were both sartorial and, tangentially at least, political.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • The man, who was drunk and maybe unhinged, too, was, like Alan, born into manufacturing and somewhere later got lost in worlds tangential to the making of things.
    Dave Eggers  --  A Hologram for the King
  • "Bless my soul alive!" she said, going off at a tangent; "ain’t you done them taters yet, Millie?"
    H.G. Wells  --  The Invisible Man
  • While they are young we find them always shooting off at a tangent.
    C.S. Lewis  --  The Screwtape Letters
  • The logo seemed standard enough-two intersecting circles representing two particle accelerators, and five tangential lines representing particle injection tubes.
    Dan Brown  --  Angels & Demons
  • He could feel them in his hands again while overhead the gulls flew tangents.
    David Guterson  --  Snow Falling on Cedars
  • The tangential slash of her question shocked his mind into a higher awareness: Sand through a screen, he nodded.
    Frank Herbert  --  Dune
  • You know when a man lives alone as much as I do, his mind can go off on an irrational tangent just because his social world is out of kilter.
    John Steinbeck  --  East of Eden
  • Though that halfbaked Lyons ran off at a tangent in his impetuosity to get left.
    James Joyce  --  Ulysses
  • This was the dark tangent in every man’s belly, the sickness, the coldness, the mercilessness, the lust to cause pain or fear through self-power.
    John Howard Griffin  --  Black Like Me
  • What if I let them go in panic toward the town ahead of him, while I run at a tangent leaving the wall, to cross the plain until I reach the mountain slopes of Ida, taking cover in undergrowth?
    Homer  --  The Iliad
  • He reels off ten lines of tangent, sine, and cosine functions, an intricate equation springing effortlessly from his memory, and arrives at a proof.
    Ron Suskind  --  A Hope in the Unseen
  • Why on earth did I get off on such a tangent!
    James Agee  --  A Death in the Family
  • It wandered along in curves and easy angles, swayed off and up in a pleasant tangent to the top of a small hill, ambled down again between fringes of beehung clover, and then cut sidewise across a meadow.
    Natalie Babbitt  --  Tuck Everlasting
  • 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.
    Henry David Thoreau  --  Walden
  • She couldn’t keep her little mind on one subject any longer than a bird could stay on one twig and even when Scarlett tried to tell her stories, Ella went off at childish tangents, interrupting with questions about matters that had nothing to do with the story and forgetting what she had asked long before Scarlett could get the explanation out of her mouth.
    Margaret Mitchell  --  Gone with the Wind
  • I like taking a recipe and, you know, going off on a tangent to see what happens.
    Jodi Picoult  --  Nineteen Minutes
  • And lateral thinking is what we’re really discussing: the way writers can keep their eye on the target, whether it be the plot of the play or the ending of the novel or the argument of the poem, and at the same time bring in a great deal of at least tangentially related material.
    Thomas C. Foster  --  How to Read Literature Like a Professor
  • Captain Fellows asked, and then his vague mind went off at a tangent.
    Graham Greene  --  The Power and the Glory
  • Please stop flying off at tangents, Carrie.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Main Street
  • He was far more likely to swear or go off on a tangent about Hanta virus and government conspiracy.
    Jodi Picoult  --  Change of Heart
  • For out of the shock and tangle and glitter on the green a red fragment had exploded outward, flung off from the mass tangentially to spin across the green, turn and wheel and race, yet slow in the out-of-timeness of the moment, under the awful responsibility of the roar.
    Robert Penn Warren  --  All the King’s Men
  • …closer to the curb but unable, feeling a sudden wet warmth upon my face and seeing the safe shooting wildly into the intersection and the men rounding the corner into the dark, pounding, gone; gone now, as the skittering safe bounded off at a tangent, shot into the intersection and lodged in the third rail and sent up a curtain of sparks that lit up the block like a blue dream; a dream I was dreaming and through which I could see the cops braced as on a target range, feet forward, free…
    Ralph Ellison  --  Invisible Man
  • So was negligence on Paul’s part; the surgery had gone off without a hitch, and a close examination by the coroner had found nothing out of the ordinary with the procedure or anything that might have been even tangentially responsible for her death.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  Nights in Rodanthe
  • I asked before the agent went on a tangent about his experiences with cannibalism.
    James Patterson  --  Kiss the Girls
  • I asked who she was, and then we were off and running on a brand new tangent.
    Jill McCorkle  --  Ferris Beach
  • Tangents, cotangents, when are you ever going to use them?
    Judith Guest  --  Ordinary People
  • The vessel seemed to go off at a tangent to its former course and leapt almost instantly from view into the fog.
    Jack London  --  Sea Wolf
  • There are two noteworthy points to be made about the children in classroom A, tangential to the cheating itself.
    Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner  --  Freakonomics
  • In class, he encouraged students to ask questions and go on tangents, so our lessons didn’t always follow the syllabus.
    Gaby Rodriguez  --  The Pregnancy Project
  • Following a tangent line of tracks that stretched southward a short distance to a sandy patch of ground, they soon found the shallow graves.
    R.A. Salvatore  --  The Crystal Shard
  • We were watching the patterns hitting the water, and Si started claiming the ducks like he always does and going off on one of his long tangents.
    Willie & Korie Robertson  --  The Duck Commander Family
  • In a normal carousel, each horse maintains a constant acceleration, radius, and tangential speed (speed tangent to the circular path of the carousel).
    Annenberg Learner  --  Amusement Park Physics
  • She smoked and talked and ate for an hour without stopping, and I scribbled in my notebook as the muddy waters of tangents and cosines began to clarify.
    John Green  --  Looking for Alaska
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Associated words [difficulty]:   tangential [4]
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