[Image credit: Arvind Balaraman]

I had something else I wanted to ramble about this morning, but then I realized that over the course of 2012, the last Monday of each month unofficially became my “word-of-the-month” day.  And I also noted we’re nearly 1/12th of the way through the New Year.  With a slight stretch, these two topics may be somewhat tangential, and serve as a segue into this month’s vocabulary booster (compliments to one of my Words With Friends opponents).  Tangential is an adjective — pronounced \tan-ˈjen(t)-shəl\ — and describes something only partially related to a main point, or something that verges slightly off-course.  Synonyms include digressive, divergent or diverging, extraneous and unrelated.  A sample sentence includes: The characters’ relationship is tangential to the book’s main plot.  Another example of tangential is when you’re discussing a topic like government spending and you veer off into a conversation about other political matters that aren’t directly related to government spending.

Are you the type to keep the conversation on course, or do you favor tangential tendencies?