Word of the Week: Palpable

This week’s “Word of the Week” is palpable.  According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, palpable is an adjective that means “capable of being touched or felt” or “tangible.”  Frequently, speakers and writers use the word palpable to refer to something that is not usually perceived by the sense of touch in order to emphasize the degree to which its presence is noticeable.  For example, have you ever witnessed a public argument between your friends or family members or two strangers?  The tension that follows is usually palpable, hence the saying, “the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife.”

Let’s look at some examples of palpable from recent news articles.

“The Socialmatic camera allows its users to point, snap and apply one of Instagram’s retro filters to get various artistic effects. Keeping with the theme of turning a digital concept into something more palpable, users can post a caption on their photos before printing them.” http://abcn.ws/13ANhqI

“Oscar Pistorius has claimed in a court hearing that when he heard noises in his home, he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder and accidentally shot her with his 9 mm pistol. Plausible? The courts will decide. In the meantime, the killing has highlighted South Africa’s history of gun violence and high crime. And it’s shown the world that many South Africans live with a palpable, almost paranoid, fear of having their homes broken into. In the past year, more than 50% of South Africans told the country’s police force that they’re afraid. The number of home burglaries across the country of 50 million have more than doubled.” http://bit.ly/W0e3EH

“The increasing pollution levels in Beijing have become so palpable that even everyday people are becoming more aware and vocal about the issue. Vice Premiere Li Keqiang has asked for patience from the public as “it will be a long process to resolve environmental problems.”  While we applaud the government’s improved openness and transparency in this matter, Chinese citizens cannot afford to wait any longer. NRDC urges the government of Beijing to address its toxic air swiftly and decisively by adopting effective air pollution legislation.” http://bit.ly/YoQzJ2

“The comedic chemistry between Bateman and McCarthy is palpable. Usually, Bateman has the reputation for being dry and understated and McCarthy for being over-the-top. Although each plays up those personas as expected, they both flip the script on occasion, making those moments more impactful than they would be otherwise.” http://bit.ly/XSd1bp

Moments in Time, a free EP-length collaboration between French disco stalwart Alan Braxe and the Spimes (a project from fellow countrymen Madji’k and Romuald), is being released via Scion AV tomorrow, March 5. A departure from Braxe’s usual four-on-the-floor stomping grounds, “Time Machine” is a confident venture into synth-pop territory, a luxurious and pillowy track soaked with a palpable sense of melancholy. It’s obviously still the work of artists who’ve spent their careers on the dancefloor, adhering to a groove-based structure that gains momentum the longer it spins forward, but the slower clip at which it operates lets its parts breathe– Romuald’s diffuse vocals, in particular, are allowed to stretch out and find their legs.” http://bit.ly/XOMC1c

For more information on palpable, please visit the following Web sites:



W0rks Cited:

“Palpable.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 11th Ed., 2004. Print.



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