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tangential

adjective

Definition: only slightly related to the topic

Synonyms: incidental, inessential, superficially related, unimportant, minor, secondary

Antonyms: related, important, essential, primary

Tips: Related to tangent, which means "a slope or incline" and is used to refer to a subject that is off-track from the original line of conversation; "going off on a tangent." Tangential describes things that are secondary issues to an original topic.

Usage Examples:

In addition to teachers' raises, the school board also discussed the tangential issue of administrative pay increases. (secondary, incidental)

In order to keep the meeting brief, we were instructed to ask only those questions directly related to the subject and to hold all tangential questions for later. (inessential, minor)

Because the panel could not come up with any real solutions to the economic crisis, it seemed to concentrate on subjects tangential to the problem. (superficially related, secondary)

Our conversation went off on a tangent, but I steered it back to the original topic. (slope, slide, unrelated matter) noun


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