to go off at a tangent

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - go off at a tangent

"to go off at a tangent"

to start talking or thinking or doing something unrelated to the current situation


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - go off at a tangent

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  Did you understand what the boss was talking about this morning?

Colleague 2:  I thought he had been talking about a new marketing plan until he went off at a tangent and started talking about the accounting system and then the bonus structure.

Colleague 1:  So how do we interpret what we should be doing?

Colleague 2:  I think we need to wait for clearer instructions.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - go off at a tangent

Two students are talking ...

Student 1:  Where have you been? You were supposed to have gone for a quick trip to the library for a couple of books.

Student 2:  I ran into Joe and he suggested we go and have a quick beer. Then at the pub, Susan invited me for pizza and ...

Student 1:  How do you ever expect to do well in school if you are going off at tangents all the time?

to go off at a tangent - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   39   click for frequency by country

to go off at a tangent - Gerund Form:

Going off at a tangent made the point he was trying to make difficult to understand.

to go off at a tangent - Examples:

1)  Because you got befuddled, we all have to go off at a tangent.

2)  ... often lose track of what is being said and they'll go off at a tangent with a little anecdote which often ends with loud laughter.

3)  You're very rational. When I go off at a tangent, you bring me back to reality. 

4)  He apologised for going off at a tangent if some new idea struck him, ...

5)  Some days we'd wind up going off at a tangent and doing stupid stuff that wasn't in the original adventure.

6)  ... he said what he thought about unequal pay before going off at a tangent about women's biology.

7)  ... then proceed to bore us all with irrelevant information. Stop going off at a tangent, and deal with the issue at hand.

8)  ... by telling mourners about his last visit to Mandoza but then went off at a tangent singing his own praises.

9)  But I got distracted and went off at a tangent instead.

10)  ... did not answer her question. He went off at a tangent about health care, which isn't addressing the ...

11)  Even for a diary, a form generically disposed to go off at tangents and leave stories unfinished, it feels unforthcoming.

12)  Because of his tendency to go off at tangents, it was hard to determine what was factual about his life.

13)  Linearity gradually gave way to circular thinking; he would go off at tangents, spiralling ever further away from what he was trying to say

14)  He's prone to go off at tangents, as in his random disquisition on saucy seaside postcards, ...

15)  While testifying the defendant often was evasive, choosing to go off at tangents or be critical of others rather than providing direct answers.

16)  I worried I would get distracted and go off at tangents. I worried that I would mess up the timing.

17)  ... and pointless stories get told, they go off at tangents, and every now and then they realize that they just forgot where they were ...

18)  The discussions, interspersed with anecdotes from past and present, often go off at tangents and touch upon broader topics.

19)  Funny enough, but I was researching for a talk and often go off at tangents that don't help me getting my talk accomplished.

20)  We never go off at tangents or stray from the story.