The Meaning of Tangible: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever been confused by the definition of tangible? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word tangible, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word tangible mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word tangible is an adjective that refers to something that is a physical substance or in actual physical existence, not a concept or idea, or something that is imaginary. The word tangible evokes a sense of touch and an intrinsic reproductive value in an actual form. Tangible has three syllables – tan-gi-ble, and the pronunciation of tangible is tændʒɪbəl. Different suffixes such as ness, bly and ty can be added to the end of tangible in place of ible to form the related words tangibleness (n.), tangibility (n., ˌtangiˈbility) and tangibly (adv.) 

The term tangible assets is also a concept in finance. According to Investopedia, a tangible asset or a tangible property is a piece of capital that is a physical thing, such as real estate, commercial enterprise, business enterprise, machinery or business assets. This is different than having money in stocks in monetary terms, which are not tangible. These things have an intrinsic monetary value and rela benefits rather than mere potential.

Many different languages also contain words that mean tangible. You may notice that some of these translations of tangible look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases in different languages that likely have the same root or language of origin, causing them to sound the same. The below list of translations of tangible is provided by Word Sense

  •  Nynorsk: materiell‎
  •  Italian: tangibile‎
  •  Bokmål: materiell‎
  •  Galician: tanxible‎, tanxíbel‎
  •  Polish: namacalny‎ (masc.), dotykalny‎ (masc.)
  •  Spanish: tangible‎
  •  Greek: απτός‎, αισθητός‎ (masc.), χειροπιαστός‎ (masc.)
  •  Portuguese: tangível‎
  •  Romanian: tangibil‎ (masc.), palpabil‎ (masc.)
  •  German: greifbar‎, erfühlbar‎
  •  Russian: осяза́емый‎, ощути́мый‎
  •  Maori: whaikiko‎
  •  French: tangible‎ (masc.) (f)
  •  Hebrew: מוחשי‎
  •  Dutch: tastbaar‎
  •  Norwegian: følbar‎
  •  Catalan: tangible‎
  •  Finnish: kouriintuntuva‎, käsin kosketeltava

What is the origin of tangible?

According to Etymonline, the word tangible has been used since c16 Middle English. This comes from the French tangible and Late Latin tangibilis, from the Latin tang and suffix ibilis. This comes from the Latin tangere meaning to touch. This Latin word stems from the Proto-Indo-European root tag meaning to touch or handle.

How can the word tangible be used in a sentence?

The word tangible can be used in many different contexts in the English language. Trying to use a word in a sentence is one of the best ways to memorize its definition and add it to your vocabulary, but you can also try making flashcards or quizzes that test your knowledge. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several examples of the word tangible that can help get you started incorporating this word into your vocabulary.  

While there was no tangible evidence that his next-door neighbor had bugged his house, he couldn’t help but have suspicion. The officer stated he had no tangible grounds on which to prosecute, but the man had a sense of smoke leading to fire. He knew something was up.

There are many tangible benefits of sunshine such as gaining vitamin D, but it also has its intangible benefits, such as creating happiness. 

During her first full week at the company, she made a tangible impact on the workplace culture. She used the skills she gained at Google to make examples of the challenges she faced. The company was grateful to have her even for a brief time.

There was a tangible roughness to the Prime Minister’s hands, much like the equivalent intangible roughness and sudden anger he was known to explode with in a palpable wave. 

There were piles of palpable dust and a plethora of tangible dust bunnies in the vacant apartment that Lisi rented near Princeton University. She used the industrial aspects of her personality to get down to business, clean, and get concrete results.

What are synonyms and antonyms of tangible?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word tangible These are considered synonyms, which are words that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself or if you are looking to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word tangible is provided by Thesaurus

  •  perceivable
  •  distinct
  •  definite
  •  manifest
  •  solid
  •  sensible
  •  objective
  •  observable
  •  discernible
  •  corporeal
  •  well-grounded
  •  actual
  •  physical
  •  tactile
  •  verifiable
  •  factual
  •  incarnated
  •  concrete
  •  material
  •  substantial
  •  perceptible
  •  detectable
  •  positive
  •  embodied
  •  obvious
  •  appreciable
  •  palpable
  •  evident
  •  patent
  •  phenomenal
  •  visible
  •  stable
  •  gross
  •  plain
  •  real
  •  touchable

There are also many different words that have the opposite meaning as the word tangible. These are considered antonyms. Antonyms are also very useful to know if you want to expand your vocabulary and knowledge of the English language. This list of antonyms for the word tangible is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  theoretical
  •  unreal
  •  recondite
  •  hypothetical
  •  transcendent
  •  deep
  •  transcendental
  •  conceptual
  •  ideal
  •  abstract
  •  intellectual
  •  nonconcrete
  •  philosophical
  •  indefinite
  •  complex
  •  abstruse

Overall, the word tangible means palpable or touchable. Something that is tangible is real and physical, evoking a sense of touch. This is opposed to something that is conceptual, abstract or imaginary. The term tangible is also used in finance to refer to assets that are physical or have intrinsic productive value. This comes from the Latin tangere and Late Latin tangibilis, from Indo-European roots. 


  1. Tangible Asset Definition – Accounting | Investopedia 
  2. tangible | Origin and meaning of tangible by Online Etymology Dictionary 
  3. Tangible definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  4. tangible: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  5. TANGIBLE Synonyms: 39 Synonyms & Antonyms for TANGIBLE | Thesaurus 
  6. ABSTRACT Synonyms: 87 Synonyms & Antonyms for ABSTRACT | Thesaurus