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Definition touching the current issue, but with minor or no relevance

In math, tangential means touching at only a single point.
  • We didn't learn a lot, but her tangential remarks were entertaining.
tangential = touching the current issue, but with minor or no relevance
  • 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.
  • Alertness to tangential aspects of problems can help scientists to postulate significance that otherwise would be missed.
  • It is called "tangential velocity" because the object whose velocity is being measured is always tangent to the circle.
  • 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
  • tangential = touching the current issue, but with minor or no relevance
  • There the text went off on a tangent about how Bram Stoker had actually been...
    P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast  --  Betrayed
  • tangent = a different subject from the main thing being discussed before and after the different subject discussion (although it is a different subject, it does touch upon or connect to the main subject in some way)
  • ... "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
  • tangent = something that touched the current issue, but with minor or no relevance
  • She went off at a tangent "It was nice of Gareth to go against his brothers."
    T. H. White  --  The Once and Future King
  • While they are young we find them always shooting off at a tangent.
    C.S. Lewis  --  The Screwtape Letters
  • Alec, who had been face's parabatai long enough to have learned to ignore conversational tangents, said, "Magnus and I are okay, I guess.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Lost Souls
  • 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 school, they were studying Homer, tangents, tonal systems, Dred Scott, and finger whorls.
    Laurie Halse Anderson  --  The Impossible Knife of Memory
  • I like taking a recipe and, you know, going off on a tangent to see what happens.
    Jodi Picoult  --  Nineteen Minutes
  • That would be a tangent from our main conversation, which is about all the phases of the plan.
    Neal Stephenson  --  Snow Crash
  • Even, like, tangentially.
    Gillian Flynn  --  Gone Girl
  • 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
  • At this point I'm an expert at going along with her tangents.
    Katja Millay  --  The Sea of Tranquility
  • "Let's see, the tangent of forty degrees is about point eight-four.
    Homer Hickam  --  October Sky

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