A line that just touches a curve at a point, matching the curve's slope there.

(From the Latin

At left is a tangent to a general curve.

And below is a tangent to an ellipse:

(From the Latin

*tangens*touching, like in the word "tangible".)At left is a tangent to a general curve.

And below is a tangent to an ellipse:

See: Tangent (function)

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