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Borrowed from Latin tāctus. Sense “keen perception” developed in French tact.[1]


  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ækt


tact (countable and uncountable, plural tacts)

  1. The sense of touch; feeling. [from 1650s]
    • Robert Southey
      Did you suppose that I could not make myself sensible to tact as well as sight?
    • J. Le Conte
      Now, sight is a very refined tact.
  2. (music) The stroke in beating time.
  3. Sensitive mental touch; special skill or faculty; keen perception or discernment; ready power of appreciating and doing what is required by circumstances; the ability to say the right thing. [from early 19th c.]
    Synonyms: sensitivity, consideration, diplomacy, tactfulness
    • Thomas Babington Macaulay
      He had formed plans not inferior in grandeur and boldness to those of Richelieu, and had carried them into effect with a tact and wariness worthy of Mazarin.
    • Thomas Babington Macaulay
      A tact which surpassed the tact of her sex as much as the tact of her sex surpassed the tact of ours.
    By the use of tact, she was able to calm her jealous husband.
    I used tact when I told my fat uncle that his extra weight made him look better.
  4. (slang) Clipping of tactic.
    • 2006 "Block Party", Corner Gas
      Wanda "Hey, can you show us?"
      Karen "No"
      Brent "We promise not to make fun of you."
      Karen "No"
      Lacey "Okay, we promise TO make fun of you."
      Karen "I'm getting a drink"
      Lacey "I was trying a different tact."
      Wanda "Bad tack."
  5. (psychology) A verbal operant which is controlled by a nonverbal stimulus (such as an object, event, or property of an object) and is maintained by nonspecific social reinforcement (praise).
    • 2013, Jacob L. Gewirtz, William M. Kurtines, Jacob L. Lamb, Intersections With Attachment
      Skinner (1957) saw such tacts as responses that are reinforced socially.

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


tact (third-person singular simple present tacts, present participle tacting, simple past and past participle tacted)

  1. (psychology) To use a tact (a kind of verbal operant; see noun sense).

Further readingEdit


  1. ^ tact” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.




Borrowed from Latin tactus.



tact m (plural tacts)

  1. tact

Related termsEdit

Further readingEdit