Went off on a tangent during his presentation.
An example of a tangent is someone talking about a problem at work and then suddenly starts talking about something that happened to them in elementary school.
- The ratio of the opposite side of a given acute angle in a right triangle to the adjacent side.
- An equivalent, positive or negative ratio for certain related angles (Ex.: the tangent of 57° or 237° is 1.5399, of 123° or 303° is −1.5399) or real numbers representing radians (Ex.: the tangent of .9948 radians (57°) is 1.5399)
- to break off suddenly from a line of action or train of thought and pursue another course
Idioms and Phrasal Verbs
Origin of tangent
- Latin (līnea) tangēns tangent- touching (line) present participle of tangere to touch tag- in Indo-European roots
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Latin tangentem, the accusative of tangÄ“ns (“touching") (in the phrase lÄ«nea tangÄ“ns (“a touching line")), the present participle of the verb tangō (“touch", verb), from Proto-Indo-European *tag-, *taǵ- (“to touch"). Cognate with Old English þaccian (“to touch lightly, pat, stroke"). More at thack, thwack.