fly off at a tangent

(redirected from flying off at a tangent)

fly off at a tangent

To begin addressing or discussing a topic that is different than or not relevant to the main discussion. I tried to address the customer's problem, but she kept flying off at a tangent and I couldn't understand what her true complaint was. In the middle of our conversation about my finances, my advisor flew off at a tangent about current events.
See also: fly, off, tangent
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

go/fly off at a ˈtangent

(British English) (American English go off on a ˈtangent) change suddenly from talking or thinking about one thing to talking or thinking about another: One moment the professor is working hard on a problem in physics, the next he’s gone off at a tangent and he’s talking about bees.
A tangent is a straight line that touches the outside of a curve but does not cross it.
See also: fly, go, off, tangent
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in classic literature ?
His flying off at a tangent was indisputably natural.
hu!" - and the devil, dropping at once the sanctity of his demeanor, opened to its fullest extent a mouth from ear to ear, so as to display a set of jagged and fang-like teeth, and, throwing back his head, laughed long, loudly, wickedly, and uproariously, while the black dog, crouching down upon his haunches, joined lustily in the chorus, and the tabby cat, flying off at a tangent, stood up on end, and shrieked in the farthest corner of the apartment.
"I don't want to be flying off at a tangent when we might have what we want at the club."