the meaning of "tangent"

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Mad-ox

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hi,

What is the meaning of the word tangent in the following context:

Each time our narrator verges on a new event, or we think that we are about to pick up the thread of a previous storyline, the text suddenly veers off on yet another tangent.



Madox
 

BobK

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Imagine you're swinging something round your head. It's moving in a circle. Let go, and it flies off at a tangent. So, figuratively, a discussion or argument flies off at a tangent when it suddenly insists on following one (irrelevant) direction.

(Sometimes it's used in a slightly different sense - moving away violently from one direction. But anyone who's aware of the root [tangere - Latin "to touch": a tangent is a straight line that touches a circle] might be tempted to smile inwardly at what classics teachers might regard as a "mistake"!)

b
 
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Mad-ox

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Imagine you're swinging something round your head. It's moving in a circle. Let go, and it flies off at a tangent. So, figuratively, a discussion or argument flies off at a tangent when it suddenly insists on following one (irrelevant) direction.

(Sometimes it's used in a slightly different sense - moving away violently from one direction. But anyone who's aware of the root [tangere - Latin "to touch": a tangent is a straight line that touches a circle] might be tempted to smile inwardly at what classics teachers might regard as a "mistake"!)

b

So, "the text suddenly veers off on yet another tangent." can have the meaning of the following: to suddenly start doing/discussing/relating/depicting about something completely different?
 

BobK

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So, "the text suddenly veers off on yet another tangent." can have the meaning of the following: to suddenly start doing/discussing/relating/depicting about something completely different?

Spot on! :up:

b
 
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