Meaning of “tangent” in the English Dictionary

"tangent" in British English

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tangentnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈtæn.dʒənt/ us /ˈtæn.dʒənt/ specialized

tangent noun [ C ] (CIRCLE)

a straight line 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 side opposite 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 side opposite 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 particular point.

(Definition of “tangent” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)