tangent Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “tangent” in the English Dictionary

"tangent" in British English

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tangentnoun [C]

uk   us   /ˈtæn.dʒənt/ specialized
  • tangent noun [C] (CIRCLE)

a ​straightline that ​touches but does not ​cut into a ​curve
  • tangent noun [C] (TRIANGLE)

(written abbreviation tan) (in a ​triangle that has one ​angle of 90°) the ratio of the ​length of the ​sideopposite an ​angle less than 90° ​divided by the ​length of the ​shorter of the two ​sides that are next to the ​angle
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(Definition of tangent from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"tangent" in American English

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tangentnoun [C]

 us   /ˈtæn·dʒənt/
  • tangent noun [C] (DIFFERENT SUBJECT)

a ​subject or ​activity that is different than the one you are ​talking about or doing: We were ​talking about ​exercise and got off on a tangent.
  • tangent noun [C] (MATH)

trigonometry in a ​triangle that has one ​angle of 90°, the ​ratio (= ​comparison) of the ​length of the ​sideopposite an ​angle less than 90° ​divided by the ​length of the ​shorter of the two ​sides that are next to the ​angle geometry A tangent is also a ​line that ​touches a ​curve or ​solid at a ​particularpoint.
(Definition of tangent from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“tangent” in British English

“tangent” in American English

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