- pertaining to or of the nature of a tangent; being or moving in the direction of a tangent.
- merely touching; slightly connected: tangential information.
- divergent or digressive, as from a subject under consideration: tangential remarks.
- tending to digress or to reply to questions obliquely.
- of, being, relating to, or in the direction of a tangent
- Also: transverse astronomy (of velocity) in a direction perpendicular to the line of sight of a celestial objectCompare radial (def. 6)
- of superficial relevance only; digressive
adj.1849, from tangent + -al (1). Related: Tangentally. adj.1620s, see tangent; figurative sense of “divergent, erratic” is from 1787. Related: Tangentially.