When something is palpable, you can touch or handle it, even though the word is often used to describe things that usually can’t be handled or touched, such as emotions or sensations.

You probably won’t see palpable used to describe, say, an egg or a doorknob or a motorcycle. Palpable is usually reserved for situations in which something invisible becomes so intense that it feels as though it has substance or weight. Someone who has experienced a death in the family might say that her grief feels palpable.

Definitions of palpable
  1. adjective

    capable of being perceived; especially capable of being handled or touched or felt

    “a barely
    palpable dust”
    “felt sudden anger in a
    palpable wave”
    “the air was warm and close–
    palpable as cotton”
    palpable lie”


    easily perceived by the senses or grasped by the mind

    capable of being perceived by the mind or senses
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    imperceptible to the senses or the mind
    elusive, subtle

    difficult to detect or grasp by the mind or analyze
    imperceptible, unperceivable

    impossible or difficult to perceive by the mind or senses
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  2. adjective

    can be felt by palpation

    palpable tumor”


    capable of being perceived by the mind or senses

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