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tangent

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

Tangent \Tan"gent\, noun [L. tangens, -entis, p. pr. of tangere to touch; akin to Gr. ? having seized: cf. F. tangente. Cf. {Attain}, {Contaminate}, {Contingent}, {Entire}, {Tact}, {Taste}, {Tax}, verb (used with an object)] (Geom.) A tangent line curve, or surface; specifically, that portion of the straight line tangent to a curve that is between the point of tangency and a given line, the given line being, for example, the axis of abscissas, or a radius of a circle produced. See {Trigonometrical function}, under {Function}.

{Artificial tangent}, or {Logarithmic tangent}, the logarithm of the natural tangent of an arc.

{Natural tangent}, a decimal expressing the length of the tangent of an arc, the radius being reckoned unity.

{Tangent galvanometer} (Elec.), a form of galvanometer having a circular coil and a short needle, in which the tangent of the angle of deflection of the needle is proportional to the strength of the current.

{Tangent of an angle}, the natural tangent of the arc subtending or measuring the angle.

{Tangent of an arc}, a right line, as ta, touching the arc of a circle at one extremity a, and terminated by a line ct, passing from the center through the other extremity o.

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

Tangent \Tan"gent\, adjective [L. tangens, -entis, p. pr.] Touching; touching at a single point; specifically (Geom.) meeting a curve or surface at a point and having at that point the same direction as the curve or surface; -- said of a straight line, curve, or surface; as, a line tangent to a curve; a curve tangent to a surface; tangent surfaces.

{Tangent plane} (Geom.), a plane which touches a surface in a point or line.

{Tangent scale} (Gun.), a kind of breech sight for a cannon.

{Tangent screw} (Mach.), an endless screw; a worm.

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:

noun

1: a straight line or plane that touches a curve or curved surface at a point but does not intersect it at that point

2: ratio of the opposite to the adjacent side of a right-angled triangle [syn: {tangent}, {tan}]