Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Acute sensitivity to what is proper and appropriate in dealing with others, including the ability to speak or act without offending.
  • n. Archaic The sense of touch.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The sense of touch; feeling.
  • n. The stroke in beating time.
  • n. Sensitive mental touch; peculiar skill or faculty; nice perception or discernment; ready power of appreciating and doing what is required by circumstances.
  • n. The ability to deal with embarrassing situations carefully and without doing or saying anything that will annoy or upset other people; careful consideration in dealing with others to avoid giving offense; the ability to say right thing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The sense of touch; feeling.
  • n. The stroke in beating time.
  • n. Sensitive mental touch; peculiar skill or faculty; nice perception or discernment; ready power of appreciating and doing what is required by circumstances.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A touching; touch.
  • n. The sense of touch.
  • n. Mental perception; especially, fine perception; intuitive sense of what is true, right, or proper; fineness of discernment as to action or conduct, especially a fine sense of how to avoid giving offense; ability to do or say what is best for the intended effect; adroitness; cleverness; address.
  • n. In music, a beat or pulse; especially, the emphatic down-beat with which a measure begins; hence, also, a measure.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. consideration in dealing with others and avoiding giving offense

Etymologies

French, from Old French, sense of touch, from Latin tāctus, from past participle of tangere, to touch; see tag- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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  • Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell, and still have them look forward to the trip. - Sir Winston Churchill

    March 8, 2009